Editor’s Note: According to Georgia Code (50-18-70), “All public records of an agency... shall be open for a personal inspection by any citizen of this state at a reasonable time and place; and those in charge of such records shall not refuse this privilege to any citizen.”
Saying the move is necessary in order to put department records online, Savannah/Chatham County Police Chief Michael Berkow has limited media and public access to the daily police incident reports that are the core of The Blotter. Citizens and the media must now request specific reports rather than having full access, as mandated by state law.
We believe the move is in conflict with both the letter and the spirit of state open records law. The matter is currently in mediation with the state Attorney General’s office. Until the issue is resolved, please enjoy these “classic” Blotter reports from previous issues.
• Two brothers began arguing over the use of the telephone and television in their home so violently that police were called.
One brother wanted to watch religious programming, and the other wanted to watch football. The fight escalated when one decided to call their mother and the other wanted to call their uncle.
The two admitted to police that they did wrestle, but neither one was injured. Police called their mother, who said she was on her way home to settle the matter.
• Police were clearing patrons from a Congress Street bar that had just closed, but the patrons weren’t dispersing. They were arresting one man who refused to leave when a second man approached.
One of the officers stepped between the other patrons and the man and ordered him to leave. The man refused, saying the arrestee was his “buddy” and he wasn’t leaving without him.
The man was asked to leave again, and again refused to go, so the officer asked one last time. This time, the man stepped up to the officer and told him that to move him, police would have to arrest him.
The man was frisked, put into a squad car and then taken to the police command post, where he told an officer, “You know, you are fucking up my career.” He then apologized and asked for another chance, but was taken to jail.
• An officer on patrol was flagged down by a man at the corner of Bryan and Lincoln streets. The man said his car, which had been parked at a city garage, had been damaged.
Someone had been broken off a piece of metal on the driver’s side door lock, then pried open the driver’s side rear door and window. The suspect also removed the rear hatch lock, damaged the paint on the rear hatch, removed a door handle and tried to pry open the rear hatch glass.
The officer inspected the car and saw that the damage hadn’t been done during an attempt to break into the car. He asked the man if he had any enemies.
The man replied that he had no enemies, but said he had fired an employee earlier that day.
• Two men were reported walking in traffic on the Talmadge Bridge. When an officer arrived, he saw one man with blood on his shirt from a laceration on the right side of his face and a second man who appeared to be uninjured.
Both men were heavily intoxicated. Their initial story was that a friend drove them to get cigarettes from one of their cars, but when they left the car, some black males in the area began to heckle them.
One of the men said he called the hecklers “Goddamn n----s,” at which point four of them jumped him. Both men changed their stories and the number of assailants several times, and the officer told them it was evident they were lying. Medstar responded to the scene, but the injured man refused treatment. cs
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