You know your life has hit rock bottom when you get 86’ed from a place called Burt’s Pumpkin Farm. That’s what happened to Nydia Tisdale last week in Dawsonville, Georgia, when Republicans had her forcibly removed for videotaping a public event.
Apparently, Georgia Republicans didn’t get the memo: If the GOP wants to reach out to women, roughing one up is not the way to do it. Especially since Tisdale is a non-partisan video journalist and local government watchdog. In fact, that vile toad of a human being, Governor Nathan Deal, was sitting right there with his wife and didn’t lift a finger to help or defuse the situation.
Fetch Your News reports Tisdale is a familiar — and not entirely unwelcome — face to many of the officials and candidates present at this GOP meet-and-greet. She had permission to record the event and took her usual seat in the front row and began recording without incident.
Things suddenly went south for Tisdale when State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens made a rather puerile remark about Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate Michelle Nunn’s positions in a recent debate:
“I thought I was going to absolutely puke.”
Hudgens then turned towards Tisdale and declared:
“I don’t know why you’re video taping?”
The crowd’s mood darkened, and Tisdale told FYP that Clint Bearden — a GOP mover and shaker and lawyer whose law firm partner is currently under investigation for unethical conduct — confronted Tisdale and asked her to turn off the camera. Tisdale refused, and Brian Pritchard from FYN describes what he saw happen next:
As Woods continued to speak Bearden went to Deputy Wooten for assistance. I then watched Bearden go and speak to the property owners Johnny and Kathy Burt. By this time Labor Commissioner Mark Butler had started speaking. Bearden returned and said something to Wooten.
Deputy Wooten then obeyed orders from the powers-that-be and proceeded to bully Tisdale into turning off her video camera, and then began using physical force to make her leave — even though Tisdale had every right to be there, and claims she had prior permission to record the event.
At this time both Bearden and Wooten approached Tisdale. Wooten told her she had to turn the camera off. Tisdale refused and continued to video. Wooten started to try to remove the camera from Tisdale’s hands. When she refused and struggled to keep the camera running, Wooten started physically removing her from the event. Tisdale physically resisted being removed turning the camera on Wooten screaming,
Tisdale resisted being dragged off — it does not seem Wooten had placed her under arrest or provided any legal reason for turning off her camera — and demanded Wooten identify himself.
“identify yourself, who are you?”
Butler tried to continue speaking but was interrupted by loud screams coming from Tisdale in the barn (screams can be heard in the audio below). Tisdale told FYN in an exclusive interview (posted below) that she screamed because Deputy Wooten had her arm twisted up her back and she was in pain.
At this point, Tisdale says Burt (the owner of the farm) told Wooten to let her go, but Wooten refused. Others present claim Tisdale hit Wooten, but this hardly seems possible. Wooten then threw the journalist in jail and charged her with “felony obstruction of an officer and criminal trespass.”
Criminal trespass? For an event open to the public?
Tisdale got bailed out early Sunday morning, but Dawson County kept the camera — which has the entire recording of the incident — as evidence.
What does Tisdale’s treatment say about the Republican party?
During and after Wooten’s manhandling, forcible ejection, and arrest of Tisdale, the speakers either laughed off the incident or pretended it hadn’t happened. Until finally, Georgia’s Attorney General Sam Olens stepped up to address the, erm, elephant in the room and express concern for what the Tisdale incident says about the Republican Party and its future.
“Let me be possibly politically incorrect here for a second. If we stand for anything as a party what are we afraid of with the lady having a camera filming us? What are we saying here that shouldn’t be on film? What message are we sending? Cause it’s private property they shouldn’t be filming? What is the harm? The harm that this poses is far greater than her filming us. What are we hiding? If we are telling you why we are running and what we stand for, what are we hiding?”
Of course, given the present company, Olens has to give a nod to individual property rights. However, as a lawyer and as his state’s attorney general, he must know that individual property rights have limited application when hosting a political event that is — at least in theory — open to the public.
Here’s the video with footage from the incident and an account from Tisdale, via Crooks and Liars.
Here’s Tisdale’s video of the event — the part with her arrest happens in the last four minutes.
Featured photo: Fetch Your News.