Richard Jewell

Last weekend I watched the film “Richard Jewell”. Richard Jewell was a Georgia security guard who happened to be on duty the night a bomb blew up in Centennial Park in Atlanta during the 1996 Olympics. Richard Jewell was falsely accused of executing the terrorist attack. “Richard Jewell” is a Clint Eastwood film telling the title character’s story.

Richard Jewell was a thirty three year old man who was fascinated with law and order and police protocol. He studied the law every night and he owned a small arsenal of weapons. Richard had a spotty work his including a termination from a police force and a termination from a university security force where he pulled people over on the road leading to the school where they had no jurisdiction.

There were two casualties due to the terrorist attack at Centennial Park however Richard’s zeal, sharp eye and attention to detail and protocol spared lives. Richard spotted a suspicious package in the crowd and reported it to authorities. He also became the fall guy for the attack.

Richard Jewell

The FBI was under pressure to find a suspect. Richard fit the profile of domestic terrorist due to being a loner with a fascination with weapons and legal matters. His admiration and trust for law enforcement worked against him. He cooperated with the FBI when others would have been defending himself.

Richard was eventually vindicated and cleared of all charges. His lawyer’s secretary was the first to figure out that he was innocent. She simply took a walk from the pay phone where the bomb threat was made to the place the suspicious package was found.

He didn’t have time to make the call and place the package. The FBI and media didn’t investigate that matter until after accusing Richard of being a terrorist. Later a different man confessed to bombing the ’96 Olympics. That man is serving life in prison without parole. Richard Jewell went on to further his law enforcement career and died at forty four of heart failure.

I would recommend this movie. There have been several high profile crimes in the media that seem to go away after they have a suspect in custody. Quite often the suspect is an unfortunate person that fits the profile of a neighborhood creep and they have few resources to defend themselves. They are presented to the public in a terrible mugshot or in a still shot of grainy surveillance video from a gas station and the case is never spoken of again. We can only hope they got the right neighborhood creep.

I remember the ’96 Olympic bombings and oddly enough it popped into my mind shortly before this movie was released. I had done a bit of research and learned about the plight of Richard Jewell so the movie peaked my interest and I looked forward to seeing it. “Richard Jewell” didn’t disappoint. I think you will enjoy it whether you remember the ’96 Olympics or not.

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