On November 22, 2019, TMZ reported “Iggy Azalea and Playboi Carti’s rental home was burglarized in Atlanta … and the couple told cops a massive amount of jewelry was stolen!!!” That massive amount was $366,000 worth of bling. And yes, the three exclamation points were in the original headline.
The Atlanta-Journal Constitution picked up the story on November 23, AJC crime reporter Zachary Hansen making the story his own by padding it with a few more details from the police report.
AJC’s coverage got the ball rolling on mainstream media attention, and by the end of the day, The Associated Press had picked up the story. Crediting AJC, AP distributed a prepackaged overview of the $366,000 heist to their news wire service clients. Overnight, the story was everywhere. CNN. Billboard. Fader. Reuters. ABC.
And they all got it wrong. Every. Last. One.
As Real World Police (re-)reveals, the actual figure was roughly $1 million. Enough that Playboi Carti needed two different insurance policies to cover it all.
So where did the $366,000 figure come from?
It only accounted for Iggy Azalea’s jewelry — and none of Playboi Carti’s. This two-part video presents the full story, from start to finish, omitting details only when necessary to protect the reasonable privacy interests of those involved. It should be noted that neither artist still lives at the pictured location.
From the report of Atlanta Police Officer Michael Solomon, lightly edited for clarity and victim privacy:
On November 17, 2019 at 2:56 p.m, I was dispatched to a residential burglary in the Atlanta area. Upon arrival, I came into contact with the victim, Ms. Amethyst Kelly [better known as the rapper Iggy Azalea], who advised that their rental house had been burglarized two nights prior, and that jewelry had been stolen from their dining room.
Kelly advised that earlier today she and her boyfriend discovered that his jewelry was missing, along with the blue Goyard bag where she and her boyfriend would keep the jewelry. Kelly advised that she had been in the basement and had heard footsteps on the second floor, which she had attributed to her boyfriend, Mr. Jordan Carter [rapper Playboi Carti]. Kelly advised that it had been rainy the night of the burglary, and that the back door to their house had not been locked in order for her boyfriend to have access.
Kelly advised that they have video surveillance footage of the suspect. Mr. Carter advised that he believed the suspect had been armed, and that he had been wearing a dark mask and gloves.
Kelly advised that she would download the video footage to a flash drive for the investigators.
Coming in part two.
Wondering why we didn’t follow the officers into the house?
The simple answer:
The Georgia Open Records Act places restrictions on access to “audio and video recordings from devices used by law enforcement officers in a place where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy when there is no pending investigation,” § 50-18-72(a)(26.2).
But it raises an important question.
I believe that transparency is essential for good government, since without transparency there can be no accountability. To that end, Real World Police is a card-carrying member of more than a dozen open government organizations. But I have to acknowledge a tension:
Georgia’s restriction? I believe it’s sensible.
There are circumstances under which police officers have the right to enter places where the occupants have a reasonable expectation of privacy. And that can happen entirely within an officer’s community caretaking role. Entry into normally-private spaces is not restricted to situations involving crime.
Just because a police officer can lawfully enter a private space shouldn’t mean that the rest of the world gets to tag along via their camera.
Consider a scenario where the police are dispatched to a malicious false alarm at your house. They force entry and find you surprised, naked and watching this video in your living room. You haven’t committed a crime. They apologize and leave. Should everyone have a right of access to that video?
The question of where to draw the line doesn’t have an obvious or easy answer.
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