Joplin Writer Assaulted After Publishing Federal Lawsuit Story

Joplin Writer Assaulted After Publishing Federal Lawsuit Story

The Turner Report has been around for the past 17 years. The man behind this blog, Randy Turner, has been a writer for a newspaper and blogs for 40 years. He says what happened yesterday was someone trying to violate his First Amendment rights.

Turner says there was an inconspicuous knock on his apartment door. Then came a simple question.

“Said, ‘Are you Mister Turner?’ I said, ‘Yes’,” says Turner.

Turner says what happened next was a punch in the face.

“Before I knew it, I was on the floor and just stunned,” says Turner.

Turner’s blog usually gets upwards of 10,000 visitors a day. But Sunday, the day before this attack, Turner wrote about a federal sexual harassment lawsuit against managers of a Joplin Sonic. Internet traffic that day increased by about 14,000 visits to his blog.

Turner says he’s identified a suspect in the assault to police.

“In this case, we’re talking about the possibility of someone who’s being sought out because of who they are, not just because a target of opportunity,” says Captain Trevor Duncan with the Joplin Police Department.

Security cameras at Turner’s apartment complex point towards a parking lot.

Turner says he’s developed a thick skin to what comes with being an investigative writer.

“You expect people to be angry,” says Turner. “You anticipate, in this day and age, that people will go after you on Facebook and Twitter.”

This time around, a bruise shows through that thick skin.

“You don’t think they’re actually going to visit you in broad daylight and assault you. Don’t change what you’re writing because of fear that someone is going to get upset and do something like this,” says Turner.

Turner says he’s learned a lesson.

“I would suggest, and I think most of the investigative reporters are more intelligent than I am in this aspect, that they check their peep holes before they answer the door,” says Turner.

We received word late this afternoon that Joplin police have identified a suspect in this case. Police are still looking for that suspect and no charges have been filed yet.