A TV news reporter and videographer were handcuffed and detained for more than an hour while covering a story in the lobby of Atlanta City Hall, which is public property.
CBS 46 News videographer Jeff Thorn and reporter Renee Starzyk were working on a story about water rates when they walked inside city hall and began filming and interviewing people paying their water bills.
“I need you to leave,” said Officer E.R. Murray.
They made a few phone calls demanding to know why police were throwing them out.
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.
“Officer Murray slapped handcuffs on both of them and told them that they were under arrest, and for no apparent reason.
More than an hour later, the journalists were released with no charges against them and an apology from the police department and the mayor’s office.
“It’s a terrible misunderstanding. We apologize. We will resolve this matter with our staff. Where the public goes the media can go,” said Chief of Staff Greg Pridgeon..
Now police have assured CBS 46 that they will investigate whether Murray violated the law. Sure they will.