OPINION: ‘Lord Jesus, where’s the police?’ The wingnuts are here!

11/5/20 - Atlanta - A President Donald Trump supporter holds a sign outside of State Farm Arena as Fulton County employees work inside, finishing up the ballot counting process.  Demonstrators were outside of State Farm Arena where absentee ballots were counted.   (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

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11/5/20 - Atlanta - A President Donald Trump supporter holds a sign outside of State Farm Arena as Fulton County employees work inside, finishing up the ballot counting process. Demonstrators were outside of State Farm Arena where absentee ballots were counted. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

If the lunacy and antipathy that followed the 2020 election in Georgia was pitched as a movie script five years ago, the narrative would have been laughed out of the screenwriters’ room. Too unbelievable.

But that was then.

Here we are with the story of Ruby Freeman, a 62-year-old temporary Fulton County elections worker who had to flee her home early this year because of continual threats and harassment, according to an investigation by Reuters.

A 911 call to Cobb County police captured her terror. “Last night after 9 someone was bamming on the door; now someone’s bamming on the door again,” she told the operator. “Oh, they’re screaming. . . . Lord Jesus, where’s the police?”

Freeman was one of the employees who appeared in videos with the infamous “suitcases” full of illegal ballots that were being counted at Fulton’s elections operation at the State Farm Center. The contention that fraudulent votes were being manufactured there was quickly discounted by state officials. But that did not deter the tin foil hat crowd, nor its leader, President Donald Trump, from regurgitating the conspiracy of corruption over and over.

In fact, Trump even mentioned Freeman by name 18 times in his phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger earlier this year, the call where he wanted to “find 11,780 votes.” Trump referred to Freeman as a “hustler” and “professional vote scammer” who “stuffed the ballot boxes.”

Imagine, the Leader of the Free World taking his time to denigrate a grandmother making $16 an hour. But this is where we are.

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November 5, 2020 Atlanta: Fulton elections head Richard Barron (center) looks over operations as Fulton County election workers were hard at it again on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020 counting ballots at State Farm Arena. Fulton County officials say election workers have completed processing absentee-by-mail ballots. Fulton elections head Richard Barron said that 145,748 absentee-by-mail ballots have been processed. Of that, he said, results of 138,000 have been posted online and 1,200 more absentees that required more signature verification will come later today — meaning there’s a difference of roughly 7,000 between what’s been processed and what’s been posted. There are still 3,600 provisional ballots and an undetermined amount of military overseas ballots left to be finalized. The deadline for those is 5 p.m. Friday. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

November 5, 2020 Atlanta: Fulton elections head Richard Barron (center) looks over operations as Fulton County election workers were hard at it again on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020 counting ballots at State Farm Arena. Fulton County officials say election workers have completed processing absentee-by-mail ballots. Fulton elections head Richard Barron said that 145,748 absentee-by-mail ballots have been processed. Of that, he said, results of 138,000 have been posted online and 1,200 more absentees that required more signature verification will come later today — meaning there’s a difference of roughly 7,000 between what’s been processed and what’s been posted. There are still 3,600 provisional ballots and an undetermined amount of military overseas ballots left to be finalized. The deadline for those is 5 p.m. Friday. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Combined ShapeCaption
November 5, 2020 Atlanta: Fulton elections head Richard Barron (center) looks over operations as Fulton County election workers were hard at it again on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020 counting ballots at State Farm Arena. Fulton County officials say election workers have completed processing absentee-by-mail ballots. Fulton elections head Richard Barron said that 145,748 absentee-by-mail ballots have been processed. Of that, he said, results of 138,000 have been posted online and 1,200 more absentees that required more signature verification will come later today — meaning there’s a difference of roughly 7,000 between what’s been processed and what’s been posted. There are still 3,600 provisional ballots and an undetermined amount of military overseas ballots left to be finalized. The deadline for those is 5 p.m. Friday. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Last week, Reuters topped itself in the News of the Weird (but True) category. Trevian Kutti, a publicist for hip-hop superstar Kanye West, arrived at Freeman’s door and urged her to ‘fess up, and intimated that she could be jail-bound. Freeman, already frazzled, called police and a body cam recording of their conversation captured this: “I cannot say what specifically will take place,” Kutti, told Freeman. “I just know that it will disrupt your freedom. . . and the freedom of one or more of your family members.”

A spokesman for West, who has changed his name to Ye, later told Reuters that Kutti was not associated with the music star when she confronted Freeman. OK, so the story is that she took it upon herself to do this. That seems unbelievable. But strange stuff happens nowadays.

Cobb police spokesman Wayne Delk told me that Freeman, through her attorney, said “that they did not want us to investigate, that the FBI would investigate.”

Freeman’s daughter, also an elections worker who was harassed, declined comment.

The FBI, in an email, said the bureau “takes all threats of violence seriously” and analyzes “intelligence to determine whether individuals might be motivated to take violent action for any reason, including due to concerns about the election, and investigate any and all federal violations to the fullest.”

Richard Barron, the embattled Fulton elections chief who is leaving this month, said he turned over a call to the FBI, one that said he should be tarred and feathered and executed. He has since heard nothing.

“There was a threat against Judge (Brian) Amero and they made an arrest in two days,” Barron said of the Superior Court Judge who tossed out a lawsuit against the Fulton elections department after finding no counterfeit ballots. “But with elections’ officials there’s been no arrests. No one is paying a price for this stuff. There’ should be the same standard for public servants doing their jobs.”

The harassment of Freeman started after a Georgia legislative hearing on Dec. 3, 2020 aimed at ferreting out fraud. (Or at least getting legislators on camera.) The video of the “suitcases” of ballots was shown at that hearing and Trump tweeted the live-streaming to his 88 million Twitter followers, almost immediately making Freeman a marked woman. Trump, still barred from Twitter and Facebook, says he’s launching his own platform, Truth Social.

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Gabriel Sterling, Georgia's Voting System Implementation manager, speaks during a news conference addressing the state's alleged voter irregularities, at the Georgia State Capitol on Jan. 4, 2021, in Atlanta. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Gabriel Sterling, Georgia's Voting System Implementation manager, speaks during a news conference addressing the state's alleged voter irregularities, at the Georgia State Capitol on Jan. 4, 2021, in Atlanta. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/TNS)

Credit: TNS

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Gabriel Sterling, Georgia's Voting System Implementation manager, speaks during a news conference addressing the state's alleged voter irregularities, at the Georgia State Capitol on Jan. 4, 2021, in Atlanta. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

That hearing came a couple days after Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting system implementation manager, made an impassioned plea to Trump and the state’s two U.S. Senators at the time, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, to tone down their rhetoric or “Someone’s going to get hurt.”

Nobody seemed to be listening.

Loeffler and Perdue, of course, got defeated in a runoff election a month later and Perdue is now taking a whack at Gov. Brian Kemp in the upcoming Republican primary. Perdue has gone all Trumpie and has dusted off the failed elections lawsuit and filed a version of it last week. It’s a great way to suck up to the Big Guy.

The suit, which references the episode that brought great woe to Freeman, is included. There is certainly no letting go of these unproven nuggets.

Perdue’s camp, in a statement, told me that he is simply joining an ongoing legal effort and is trying to “get to the bottom of fraud in 2020 and make sure it never happens again.”

“Of course harassment and violence is totally unacceptable and has no place in our society,” they said.

Of course, the wingnuts never seem to hear that part.