Georgia journalist is ordered to stay away from a county commission candidate

On Monday morning, Georgia journalist George Chidi posted his piece about DeKalb County Commission candidate Tom Owens.

George Chidi

George Chidi

It noted that “the 62-year-old Vietnam veteran and anti-immigration activist has a years-long history of legal trouble tied to harassment of political figures, acquaintances and romantic targets.”

Shortly after, Chidi reported that a sheriff’s deputy had served him with a “stalking temporary protective order,” barring him from any acts “stalking, harassing or intimidating the Petitioner [Owens] and/or the immediate family of the Petitioner.”

Meanwhile, I am now legally barred from asking questions of a candidate for public office — a public figure by any definition — sharing responsibility for overseeing a $1.2 billion budget, until two weeks before the election ends, if then. I am legally barred from even attending public events at which Owens may appear — the rule is 100 yards.

This morning, I asked the former Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter if there’s anything new with his case. He replied:

My God! 15 minutes ago, the sheriff’s office just dropped off a notice of civil contempt, claiming that I violated the TPO by posting on social media. My attorney said it would be perfectly appropriate to write about the TPO, but that appears to have triggered the motion of contempt.

We’re planning to file an emergency motion to vacate the TPO today, if possible.

* Tom Owens, a man amok (
* Journalism is not a crime ( | Reaction to the order (