Daily Archives: January 9, 2009

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Thorn and Starzyk, WGCL

Getting fitted: Thorn and Starzyk, WGCL

Apparently nobody briefed Atlanta police officer E.R. Murray about an obscure fact:  Atlanta, a city in Georgia, is part of America, a country that arguably values freedom.  Murray is now in the running for two prizes:  The Dumbest Cop in America, and the Most Dangerous Cop in America.

Here’s a guy who’s been given the mind-numbing assignment of working the metal detector at Atlanta City Hall, a public building which is routinely accessed by all forms of news media.  Friday, WGCL reporter Renee Starzyk and photographer Jeff Thorn went through the metal detector and toward the Water Department.  There, customers were routinely paying bills at a cashier window.  Starzyk was pursuing an ongoing story about billing irregularities.

While interviewing customers, Officer Einstein shows up and orders them out of the building.  From WGCL’s website:

The officer who let them in then told them to stop.  They asked why they could not shoot video in a public area.  “I need you to leave,” said Officer E.R. Murray…. Thorn and Starzyk moved out of the water department area and began shooting video in the lobby, also a public area.  “You’re in a secure area. You need to go outside,” said Murray.  Officer Murray then grabbed the camera.

“Renee, grab my camera or he’s going to break it,” said Thorn.   “What have we done wrong officer,” asked Starzyk.   Officer Murray replied, “Obstruction.”

"Hey-- shiny!"

"Hey-- shiny!"

Thorn kept his camera rolling as Officer Mensa put it on the floor.  Apparently, Starzyk was able to phone WGCL before the confrontation escalated.  Another WGCL photographer showed up and documented the handcuffing of Starzyk and Thorn.  The raw video is also posted on WGCL’s website.

WGCL says Starzyk and Thorn sat in cuffs for more than an hour as APD tried to change the dim light bulb above the head of Officer Stooge and fix its rapidly-escalating PR problem.  The video finally shows the offending dipwad removing the cuffs.  WGCL reports Starzyk and Thorn were neither jailed nor charged with a crime.  Mayor Shirley Franklin’s office issued an apology.  APD sent its coolest-ever deputy chief, Carlos Banda, to make nice.  Starzyk produced first-person pieces on the incident for WGCL’s evening news.

Officer E.R. "Enormously Rumpheaded" Murray, APD

Officer E.R. "Enormously Rumpheaded" Murray, APD

It’s clear why this guy earns a nod for the stupidest cop in America award.  What makes Officer E. R. “Empty Receptacle” Murray so dangerous?  Unlike most cops, he doesn’t understand the concept of the media’s role in a free society.  All he understands is “security,” kinda like his counterparts in Burma and Tianenman Square.  And he doesn’t have much to do, assigned, as he is, to listen for the ring of a metal detector and view the x-rayed contents of briefcases and purses.  Put a badge and a gun on a guy with that kind of assignment and brainpower, and we tend to get what we deserve.

As Lenslinger would say:  Schmuck!