Garner Camp Declines to Review Voicemail, Identify Caller

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(APN) ATLANTA — The Joan Garner for Fulton County Commission District 6 campaign has declined to review the threatening voicemail received by Atlanta Progressive News from an apparent Garner supporter, despite three written requests from APN to do so.

On Friday, August 06, 2010, at around 2am, a voicemail was received by APN’s News Editor–the present writer–making threatening statements in response to APN’s recent coverage of the Fulton County Commission District 6 Democratic Primary Run-off.

The caller did not leave his name, but sounded like a Black male and identified himself as a Joan Garner supporter. The call came from a private number.

Keisha Waites and Joan Garner are facing on in the Run-off Election which will take place Tuesday, August 10, 2010.

APN immediately contacted Atlanta Police Department, who came out and listened to the voicemail and took a report.

APN also sent an email to Joan Garner’s personal email account, as well as to the personal email account for Preston Harden, her campaign manager.

“I would like to know if you all can help determine who the caller is,” the present writer stated. “My Sprint voicemail has the capability to forward a voicemail to another Sprint phone. Do either of you or someone else in the campaign have one? If so, plz send me the # and I’ll forward it to you right away. Maybe you’ll recognize the voice.”

No reply was received.

Then APN received an email from B. Andrew Plant, spokesperson for the Garner campaign. “It was disturbing to read about anonymous calls coming to your office. Please know that we do not have any knowledge of the situation and that it’s absolutely not our policy to mud sling, threaten, or play dirty tricks. We have been working hard to keep this race for Fulton County Commission, District 6, a clean one, and will continue to do so,” Plant wrote.

APN then reiterated the request that the Garner campaign review the voicemail.

“Joan and Preston shared your message with me; thus my earlier statement to you. We’re glad you have notified authorities and are taking steps to trace the call,” Plant wrote.

APN then emailed a third request to Plant, adding, “Based on the fact that you all have not taken me up on the offer stated twice, I will assume your campaign is not interested in seeing if you recognize the voice and therefore not interested in helping figure out who left the message… If that is not the case, plz let me know.”

No reply was received, suggesting that the Garner campaign is afraid they do know who the caller is and would rather put their electoral chances before the safety of others.

Earlier this afternoon, APN did forward a copy of the voicemail to a Sprint phone belonging to a colleague of Keisha Waites, to see if she recognized the voice. Waites provided a phone number to forward the message to, upon APN’s request, and said she will be reviewing the message later today when her colleague comes by to play the message for her.

Sgt. Michael Pulliam with APD has been helpful, interested, and professional in regards to the investigation of the call.

APN contacted Sprint and obtained an Account Holder Consent to Release Form, which will allow Sprint to provide the call log of August 06, 2010, 12am-4am EST, to the APD.

Sprint says there is a 90 percent chance they will be able to trace the call.

APN faxed the form to Sgt. Pulliam today and he has stated that he will fax the information to Sprint. Sprint advised it will take them one to three days to review the information.

Therefore, it is unlikely we will learn the identity of the caller prior to tomorrow’s Run-off Election.

This is the second time APN’s News Editor has received a threatening message as a result of exercising freedom of the press. Earlier this year, an anonymous person sent a threatening email concerning an editorial.

VOICEMAIL MESSAGE

“Yo Matthew. Listen you leave my good friend Joan Garner alone. You don’t touch her, you don’t write bad sh*t about her. F*ck you and Keisha Waites, you and Keisha Waites could f*ck each other for all we care,” the caller said.

“But Joan [inaudible]… she knows it well. And she’s gonna be a good commissioner,” the caller said.

“Now you leave Joan Garner alone. This come from a friend of Joan Garner’s. You leave my good friend Joan Garner alone,” the caller said.

“You and Keisha, y’all can do what the hell y’all wanna do. But Joan is gonna kick your’all ass and your ass too. As soon as we win this office, your’all ass is kicked. So we won. That’s all we need to do is win, on Tuesday,” the caller said.

“So y’all have a nice f*ckin’ life. And you and Keisha can do whatever the hell you want to. But you stop putting them damn lies on your website about Joan, or we have some problems,” the caller said.

Atlanta Progressive News has not printed any “lies” about anyone. What APN did do was print an interview with Garner in which she declined to state positions on the privatization of Grady Hospital or funding for the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless.

More recently, APN endorsed Keisha Waites, and printed an article concerning the endorsement of Waites by David Holder, who placed third in the Primary.

Subsequently, APN printed an article noting that Garner had made misleading statements concerning her APN interview on her Facebook page.

Since then, APN learned that activist Joe Beasley, a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, has thrown his support behind Waites.

Beasley said he spoke with Joan on two occasions to find out if she would take a position on funding for the Task Force or the privatization of Grady Hospital.

Beasley said that Garner has continued to “beat around the bush.”

(END/2010)

About the author:

Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor for The Atlanta Progressive News and is reachable at matthew@atlantaprogressivenews.com.

Revised syndication policy:

Our syndication policy was updated June 2007. For more information on how to syndicate Atlanta Progressive News content, please visit: http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/extras/syndicate.html

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