On August 23 2014, citizen journalist Nydia Tisdale, who had been granted permission to film the public event, was forcibly removed from a GOP rally at Burt’s Farm in Dawsonville while recording speeches by candidates and officials. Some of Georgia’s top conservative brass like Gov. Deal and then-AG Sam Olens were in attendance.
Just this week, Tisdale was acquitted of a felony obstruction charge, but could still be looking at up to a year in jail because she refused to turn her camera off when she was instructed to do so.
But the real story is the trauma of a woman being manhandled and sexually harassed by a member of the police.
While some people in attendance spoke up and condemned the force used against the journalist, Gov. Deal only said days later that seeing her physically dragged out made him “uncomfortable.”
Tisdale testified that the arresting officer, Tony Wooten, squeezed her skin and forced her to bend over a counter with her hands behind her back. “With him pushing his groin against my buttocks I felt like I was being raped with my clothes on,” she said on the witness stand.
Simply put, Gov. Deal and the other politicians in the audience failed to lead and stand up for what was right.
After the events at Burt’s Farm took place, Better Georgia launched this petition condemning the manhandling of citizen journalist Nydia Tisdale.
Gov. Deal watched from the same row and did nothing as a female journalist was violently ejected from a public event. As the leader of this state, he had the power to speak up and prevent this injustice, but chose to do nothing.
Don’t stand by and let Gov. Deal get away without saying anything. Speak up and say this was wrong. As Richard Griffiths of Georgia First Amendment Foundation said in an emailed statement, “The right to access and to record or report on events to which the public is invited is fundamental in a democracy, and any attempt by public officials to impede that access should greatly concern every Georgia citizen.”