Friday, April 19, 2024

To the guy who called me this afternoon: The threats weren't necessary

I don't answer calls from people or numbers I don't recognize.

I'm sure you've all been through this. It's usually someone trying to sell you something, or a politician or a survey you don't want to take.

Except sometimes I forget my hard-earned lesson and I take the call.

Such was the case a few moments ago, when I answered a call from a Joplin number and the man immediately began shouting at me. He gave me his name and told me I needed to take his name off my website or he was going to call a lawyer.

At first, I didn't remember the name, but then it clicked. I knew the post he was talking about- the Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney's office had filed a domestic assault charge against him and I remembered the comments on the post about the man having anger issues.

Without ever lowering his voice, the man let me know the charges had been dropped and once again threatened to sic a lawyer on me. Increasing the volume, he said, "You even put my date of birth."

I thought about quietly discussing the matter with the guy, but then it occurred to me- I'm 68 years old and my life has been filled with conversations I wish I had avoided. So I hit the button and ended the call.

After that, I checked back to see what I had written, and as I expected there was nothing in it that I could get in any trouble for. Though I put DOB, the only information I gave was the year he was born, which was certainly wasn't going to cause him any problems.

I never said he committed the crime, when I referred to it, I used the word allegedly. Otherwise, I quoted directly from the probable cause statement, which, in itself, is an allegation- and it is also a public record, meaning I can print the information from it.

I checked online court records and confirmed the case was no longer there.

In the past, I have had people contact me, usually by e-mail, when a case is dropped, and ask me to remove the post. I nearly always do. If there is a reason that I need to leave the post up, I try to add an editor's note, explaining the later developments.

In other words, this guy had no reason to threaten me.

There are a lot of reasons why cases are dropped. Sometimes, a judge finds in a preliminary hearing that the probable cause threshold has not been met, the prosecuting attorney might have a change of mind, a witness may refuse to testify, or the investigators may discover they have made a mistake and the man who was arrested was innocent.

Whatever happens has nothing whatsoever to do with my right to publish what I originally published. And it also means I have every right to leave it exactly as I wrote it. The Joplin Police Department arrested the man. The probable cause statement tells why he was arrested and every bit of information I printed came from public records. That all happened, even if the charges were subsequently dropped.

I could leave it on the blog, but that's not the way I operate.

I unpublished the post, but I retain a copy just in case this man is arrested on a similar allegation in the future. 

I hope I never need to use it.


Anonymous said...

Randy, your caller is a piece of shit. I for one am grateful for what your blog offers: constructive, and sometimes deeply humorous commentary, insightful intellectual insights, and the joy of intellectual diversity contributing masterpieces of fact and unadulterated fiction. TR is part of my morning routine. I'm on your side Randy!

Anonymous said...

Stay safe. Thank you for keeping us up to date on local information and news. This has been one source I have used for news for many years now.

Anonymous said...

Randy we appreciate you. Please stay safe from the crazies.

Anonymous said...

Randy, there is and will always be Bullies in our Society, that think they can justify their actions or threats by trying to push their thoughts and agenda on someone else. Your "Turner Report", is Journalism and completely covered by the First Amendment of the Constitution Freedom of Speech, or of the Press, while your commentators, can be extremely opinionated your Blogs are clearly, Public Information and Reporting of the Facts.

Keep up the Good Work - and next time just let those unknown callers go straight to Voicemail.

Anonymous said...

I’m curious to know if the same person who obviously suffers from repetitive poor decision making also contacted the other media outlets in the area who ran the same story and threatened them until them pulled the story?

Anonymous said...

Randy - please be safe.
To the idiot who called you - we all know you’re going to read this. Definitely sounds like you have anger issues. It’s pretty simple, don’t do bad things, if you don’t want other people to know. I ask that you get help now before you hurt the person you “love”.
And to the victim - get out now!

Anonymous said...

You should have left it up. Sometimes justice isn’t served and the news is the only record of someones mis-deeds. Googling someone you might be interested in or looking to hire is a valuable resource. This guy may or may not have done what they alleged but there was enough to arrest him on, so a prospective suitor or employer should have the opportunity to hear both sides of that occurrence. Keep up the good work Randy.

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Such people should be reported as much as possible.