CBS46 photog assaulted by three employees at a Lithonia Denny’s that had a failing restaurant score

Reporter Adam Murphy said this was the most violent anyone has ever gotten

Originally posted Saturday, May 4, 2019 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Employees at a Lithonia Denny's attacked a CBS46 photographer Wednesday after reporter Adam Murphy entered the restaurant to politely ask questions about a failed inspection report.

CBS46's 11 p.m. newscast Friday highlighted the incident, which showed Murphy doing his standard questioning. One employee quickly got belligerent.

“Don’t put the camera in my face!” said the unidentified female employee. “I’m going to call the police.”

She and another unnamed employee physically shoved the camera and forced Murphy and photographer Dimitri Lotovski out of the establishment.

A third employee then came out with her young son and cursed at Murphy and began slapping at the camera. “That’s assault right there!’ Murphy said. A male employee began recording the CBS46 photographer and questioned whether Murphy was even allowed on the premises.

“If only their kitchen was as hot as their employees, perhaps none of this would have happened,” Murphy said cheekily during the report.

When DeKalb County police showed up, the officers confirmed that CBS46 was within their rights to question the restaurant about the inspection report.

CBS46 did not file assault charges against the employees. Instead, the station sent the raw video to Denny’s corporate headquarters in Spartanburg, S.C.

Denny’s provided the station with this statement.

"We are disappointed by the inappropriate and unacceptable behavior of the employees. We have spoken to the franchisee at this location and he has taken immediate action to ensure the restaurant meets our high brand standards and has taken appropriate action with employees."

Denny’s did not say whether any of the employees were disciplined or fired. In a follow-up statement Monday, Denny’s did not provide any new insight:

Denny's cannot comment further at this time while we address these matters internally, as we do with all employment matters.

Murphy in a text Friday night said he plans to follow up.

The veteran CBS46 reporter has done hundreds of these “Restaurant Report Card” stories before on and off over the past 17 years. “We’ve had a hand in the camera before,” he noted, “but not numerous punches like that. It was the most violent encounter I’ve ever experienced.”

He was especially concerned by the woman who was cursing up a storm in front of her young son. “We are always professional in our approach,” he noted.