Over the past week there’s been something of a brouhaha surrounding a journalist being forcibly removed from a local Republican event in Georgia.
The journalist was Nydia Tisdale, who went to Burt’s Farm in Dawsonville, Georgia, to record video of speeches by David Perdue, the state’s GOP nominee for U.S. Senate, as well as Gov. Nathan Deal (R) and others. Tisdale runs the website AboutForsyth.com.
Tisdale captured most of the Aug. 23 confrontation on video, which she has since posted to YouTube.
In the video, Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens could be seen giving a speech when he criticized the debate performance of the state’s Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, Michelle Nunn.
“I thought I was going to absolutely puke,” Hudgens said, which sparked laughter from the crowd.
Hudgens could then be seen in the video directing his attention toward Tisdale.
“I don’t know why you’re videotaping,” Hudgens said to the journalist.
About 10 minutes later in the video, a hand aggressively blocked Tisdale’s camera. The footage showed her being pushed out of the building and into an adjacent one. It was unclear who pushed her, but at some point a Dawson County sheriff’s official appeared in the video.
Tisdale asked the official if she could get her purse to give him her identification.
“Nope, you’re going to jail,” the officer said in the video.
“I’ve been real nice, now you’re going to jail for resisting arrest if you do not stop,” the official said. By then, the sheriff’s official had Tisdale with her hands behind her back pressed against a desk. He never identified himself in the video. Another man could be heard saying, “Will you please stop ma’am? We’ve asked you multiple times.”
Dawson County Republican Party Chairwoman Linda Clary Umberger followed the official and Tisdale. In the video she was heard saying to Tisdale: “I am sorry that people are treating you this way. This is wrong.”
The video ended with Tisdale face-down, saying that she had been given permission to tape the event.
In an early writeup of the incident, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that organizers banned Democratic trackers from the event. The newspaper also reported that Tisdale had been asked to stop taping the event by former Dawson County Republican Party Chairman Clint Bearden, one of the organizers.
In an interview with Atlanta television station WXIA, posted online Sunday, Tisdale highlighted the bruise she got on her arm from the incident.
“He slammed me up against a countertop and bent me over,” Tisdale said.
On Thursday, another Atlanta station, WGCL, reported that Tisdale is facing a felony charge of obstructing an officer. The Dawson County Sheriff’s Office said Tisdale attacked the official, who was identified as Capt. Tony Wooten, while he was trying to arrest her. On Sunday, the Gainesville Times newspaper reported that Wooten had been cleared of any wrongdoing. Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle said that an internal probe found that Wooten had followed protocol in arresting Tisdale.
Watch the video Tisdale posted of the Dawsonville GOP rally below:
(Photo credit: Youtube)
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