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Governor Perdue Commends Richard Jewell

Tuesday, August 1, 2006  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774

Governor Perdue Commends Richard Jewell

Governor asks Georgians to Remember Jewell as Hero

ATLANTA, Ga. – Today, during the 10-year anniversary of the 1996 Olympic Games, Governor Sonny Perdue recognized Richard Jewell for his service to Atlanta and the state of Georgia for spotting a suspicious backpack in Centennial Olympic Park and moving people out of harm’s way prior to the bomb explosion.

“The bottom line is this – Richard Jewell’s actions saved lives that day. He deserves to be remembered as a hero,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “As we look back on the success of the Olympics games and all they did to transform Atlanta, I encourage Georgians to remember the lives that were spared as a result of Richard Jewell’s actions.”

On July 27, 1996, a bomb exploded in Centennial Olympic Park, killing one person and injuring 111 others. Although Jewell identified the bomb and moved onlookers away, he was identified by media as a “focus” of the FBI’s investigation. Jewell was never arrested or charged with a crime, but the ensuing media frenzy forever affected him and his family. In 2005, Eric Rudolph pled guilty to the Olympic Park bombing.

Jewell, 43, now works as a sheriff’s deputy in Meriwether County. The text of the commendation presented to him by Governor Perdue is as follows:

WHEREAS: During the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, a bomb detonated killing one person and injuring 111 others. Many lives were spared due to the efforts of Richard Jewell, who spotted the suspicious backpack containing the bomb and took the necessary steps to have the area evacuated. For two days, the media praised him as a hero for his actions; and

WHEREAS: Three days after the bombing, his name was wrongfully leaked to the media as suspect. The Atlanta Journal Constitution published a story naming Mr. Jewell as a target in the FBI’s investigation into the bombing. A media frenzy ensued, and Mr. Jewell was tried and convicted in the court of public opinion; and

WHEREAS: For 88 days, the media continued to run stories about Richard Jewell as a suspect, forever altering his life and the lives of his family. Finally, the United States Justice Department issued a statement asserting that Mr. Jewell was not a target of the FBI’s investigation and that the leaking of his name had interfered with their investigation; and

WHEREAS: Mr. Jewell deserves to be remembered as a hero for the actions he performed during the Centennial Olympic Games. He is a model citizen, and the State of Georgia thanks him for his long-standing commitment to law enforcement, both as a security guard during the Olympics and as a sheriff’s deputy in Meriwether County today; now

THEREFORE: I, SONNY PERDUE, Governor of the State of Georgia, do hereby commend


In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the Executive Department to be affixed this first day of August, 2006.

(Signed Governor Sonny Perdue)
August 1, 2006

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