1) Sorry for hanging up on you around 8AM, but I saw Congressman Griffith pulling in and was trying to make it over to ask him some questions.
2) There were two uniformed Decatur police officers at the main front entrance of the medical center. They stayed there until around 8:20AM.
3) Since it had already been announced that they weren’t letting the public into the event, I decided to approach this from a media angle. My intention was to catch Griffith on his way out of the event with a voice recorder and media credentials and ask him to answer allegations of his avoidance of the press.
4) While waiting in the parking lot, I observed a few people talking with the police officers. I couldn’t tell if anyone was turned away by them.
5) When Griffith showed (they parked very close to the front door), he and the gentleman he was with spoke briefly (and probably shook hands, couldn’t tell for sure from my vantage point) with the police officers at the doorway. It seemed clear that the police were expecting him and that he was expecting the police to be there.
6) While I was in the parking lot, one (or possibly several) police car(s) circled the lot multiple times. They seemed suspicious of my presence. I was wearing a business suit and driving a fairly late model car with local tags, so I shouldn’t have raised ordinary security hackles. After you announced that police were present, they did another circle around the lot, presumably to find out who was reporting about their presence.
7) Around 9AM, I went inside the hospital. I was greeted by a gentleman standing near the front desk. He politely asked me if I needed some assistance, so I asked for directions to the men’s room. While heading down the hallway, I saw two gentlemen in some sort of uniform observing me very closely. They gave the appearance of people guarding a doorway. I went to the nearby cafeteria, and saw that they were standing outside a classroom-style room. I couldn’t see who was speaking, and could only see the front two rows of people in the room. While I can’t give an accurate body count, what I did see was consistent with your report of 50-60 people.
8) I waited in the parking lot until around 9:20 near Griffith’s vehicle hoping to catch an interview or at least record a “no comment” – but had to leave at that time to attend to other business.
9) I saw no signs of local media. There were no television or radio station trucks or vans in the parking lot, I didn’t see any reporter that I know walking into the building, etc. I didn’t see any people with cameras walking into the hospital. A print reporter who I don’t recognize could have walked in, however.
10) I intend to call Griffith’s office and request an interview.
Sorry I could have been more helpful, but I ran out of time.
To sum it all up, I was waiting with a handheld recording device to ask the Congressman why he’s being accused of ducking the media, but they managed to duck my ability to ask them that simple question. It’s sad commentary when an elected official goes out of his way to avoid actually speaking with his constituents.
Let's sing it boys!
Where has Parker gone boys?
Where has Parker gone?