During the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Richard Jewell was working security for a local college. On the night of July 27, three pipe bombs were placed in the Centennial Park, the ‘town square’ of the games.
Jewell discovered the suspicious package and alerted the ATF agent that was in the area and began evacuating people that were near the package. The bomb detonated and one person was killed, 111 people were injured. If not for Jewell the casualties could have been much worse.
For the first couple of days after the bombing Jewell was hailed as a hero by the media. Everything changed for him though when the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published the headline, “FBI suspects hero guard may have planted bomb.”
It was true that the FBI was investigating if Jewell could in fact be the bomber himself, but had not released any of that information to the media. After the headline was published it was quickly picked up by CNN as breaking news, and AP spread the headline across its wire to worldwide news sources.
Following the media whirlwind the FBI conducted a very public search of Jewell’s background, his apartment, as well as his mother’s apartment. They confiscated all his guns, which Jewell used for deer hunting, and took all his mothers plastic Tupperware, and Disney movies as evidence.
Jewell was placed under constant surveillance by the FBI and had a six-vehicle tail on him every time he left his apartment. There were also multiple TV crews and satellite trucks camped outside his and his mother’s home constantly.
The media ran stories that Jewell was not the hero that he had originally been portrayed, but rather that his motives were much more sinister. They said that he was actually the bomber and tried to pretend to be heroic in order to garner publicity for his act.
Tom Brokaw on NBC Nightly News said, “The speculation is that the FBI is close to making the case. They probably have enough to arrest him right now,...