The Case of the Six Missing Screams

The Nydia Tisdale affair is growing ever more strange. We can now call it the Case of the Six Missing Screams.

You’ll remember Tisdale as the citizen-journalist from Roswell who was arrested in August at a GOP rally at a pumpkin farm in Dawsonville for pointing a video recorder at candidates. Which is what she does.

In front of the top of the GOP ticket, including Gov. Nathan Deal, Tisdale was grabbed -- then roughed up. Her camera was confiscated by a Dawson County sheriff’s deputy.

But when the camera was returned several days later, the single computer file that should have been the result of the rally recording had been divided in two. And six screams were missing. Yet you can hear them by clicking here:

The above sound was captured by Brian Pritchard, editor-owner of, who was allowed to record and photograph the event undisturbed.

Several others have done some Internet sleuthing. But we’ve talked to Tisdale’s pro bono attorney, Bill Finch of Cumming, a Republican who in January will become solicitor general of Forsyth County.

“This is extremely preliminary. I’m not one to go around slinging accusations, especially when it comes to law enforcement, but it certainly raises the hackles,” Finch said.

The lawyer said the Dawson County sheriff’s department was in sole possession of the camera after it was wrested from Tisdale, who was charged with trespassing, a misdemeanor, and obstructing an officer, a felony.

“And then, when it comes back, it does not sync with other recordings,” Finch said. “It leads you to believe that one of two things has occurred. One is that it’s a fantastic coincidence. The other is that it’s been doctored.”

The attorney said he’s not ready to jump to any conclusion, but said a forensic audit of the camera’s innards, and the Dawson County’s computer system, is in order.

“It wasn’t us. We didn’t edit anything,” Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle said. The sheriff confirmed that Tisdale’s recording of the rally had been downloaded onto a CD for the department’s files.

Tisdale herself told us that when her camera was returned, a recording of the rally that should have been on one file was divided into two segments – one 15 minutes, 26 seconds long, and another file that is two minutes, 47 seconds long.

Tisdale said she did not perform that operation. While the camera was fastened to her hand at the time, her arm was twisted behind her back. “I just know my camera wasn’t stopped and then restarted,” she said.

You can “divide” an individual file on a Sony HXR-MC50U Ultra Compact Pro AVCHD Camcorder. The manual we downloaded says so. But Tisdale says she has never tried it – she prefers to edit her video on a separate computer.

For those of you who want to play sleuth, click here for the full Pritchard/ audio. At the 10 minute, 40 second mark, state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler (who said he had no problem being videotaped) took the rally’s microphone. He's your marker.

Three minutes and 37 seconds later, the screams begin.

Now go to Tisdale’s posted YouTube video and find the beginning of Butler’s appearance:

Three minutes and 22 seconds later, you’ll see the video jump slightly. Conversations don't match up. That jump, Tisdale said, is the end of the first file she found in her camera, and the beginning of the second.

There could be two or three or four minutes missing, she said. “How can you prove what’s gone if you haven’t seen it?”

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About the Author

Jim Galloway
Jim Galloway
Jim Galloway is a three-decade veteran of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who writes the Political Insider blog and column.