Welcome to Keystone

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!

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14 thoughts on “Welcome to Keystone

  1. Michelle

    This is what it’s come to in so many cities. Basic understanding of the role or the press is a distant memory. Instead, the press is seen as an annoyance — to be dealt with by deputy dumb-o. The average person has no idea that journalists are entitled to no fewer rights. If you are not troubled by this story, you are not paying attention. If you don’t care what happens to a free press, go back to your next Britney Spears VO and stop posing as a journalist.

    Reply
  2. Jim

    Awesome…finally some “proof” they were asking the “tough questions”. You can bet we’ll be hearing about this for the next six months, over and over again.

    Thanks to the reporter and shooter though, for not tucking their tails between their legs and scurrying out of the rat hole!

    I haven’t been to schmuck alert yet, I hope supercop gets a prominent place!

    On another note: Dear CBS 46, please kill the “if you see government waste, call us” promo, it’s getting old, big time.

    Reply
  3. BW

    Fulton County fixed this problem years ago . . . TV crews can no longer enter the Administration building without an escort from the the county’s PI department. I am sure the same rule will be coming soon to the City of Atlanta.

    Reply
  4. Brian

    And what’s with the big ring on his right hand? I thought it was considered a hazard to have jewelry on for an officer.

    Reply
  5. Lt. Steve

    I wouldn’t mess with Renee. I tried to arrest her once for a dangling a participle in Sandy Springs which, as you know, requires a permit. Anyway, I tried to put the cuffs on her and she did some Ninja stuff and flew away. I was very upset.

    Reply
  6. Scott Hedeen

    wow. talk about a tough day at the office. i bet the crew missed their lunch break.

    wow… since when was it even a question to able to shoot video in the lobby of city hall?

    Reply

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