HOMEWOOD, Ala. — Parker Griffith, the Democratic Party’s nominee for Alabama governor, on Wednesday verbally assaulted and physically threatened conservative talk radio host Matt Murphy, according to Murphy and his producer, who witnessed the event. As a result, an incident report has been filed with the Homewood City Police Department.
In the late 1980s, Griffith, an oncology doctor, was accused in a peer review report of a variety of indiscretions during his time in the radiation oncology department at Huntsville Hospital.
The accusations became a major issue during one of Griffith’s previous congress campaigns, although he denies their veracity.
On Wednesday, Griffith became enraged when Murphy brought the issues up again.
“Parker was visibly upset because I questioned him about the issues he had while working at Huntsville Hospital,” Murphy told Yellowhammer. “We went off the air and I stood up because the interview was over, and he stood up, pointed his finger in my face and told me ‘that was a chicken s— move.’ He said, ‘You’re a piece of s— mother f— and if I wasn’t running for governor I would kick your a— right now.'”
Murphy said a campaign aide tried to calm Mr. Griffith down and escort him out of the studio, but he resisted and his anger continued to escalate.
“I told him he needed to back off, but he didn’t,” Murphy continued. “He said, ‘I promise you this, after this election is done, you’re going to be done in this state. I’m going to bury you. You’re nothing but a p—. I’ll whip your a— right now, and I can do it.'”
Murphy said he suggested Griffith take his aide’s advice and move on, which he finally did. But Murphy says he took Griffith’s threats seriously enough that he felt compelled to call the police.
“Frankly, I feel like he meant it,” he said. “He was furious. He was like a caged animal. I understand that we do controversial things on the show sometimes, but it’s rare for me to feel physically threatened in my studio, but that’s how I felt Wednesday. I thought he was going to hit me. First he threatens physical violence, then he threatens to damage my career. I filed the incident report because I felt threatened, but I also thought it was important just to get this on the record. I’m afraid what a man with that sort of temperament would do if he got into the governor’s mansion. Can you imagine what a man like that would do with the full authority of the executive branch, of the state troopers?”
Griffith acknowledges the altercation took place, and says he regrets the language that he used, although he did not feel like the incident rose to the level of police intervention.
“We did have a heated exchange,” Griffith told Yellowhammer by phone. “But I thought it was a private conversation. He accused me of being a liar and obviously I disagreed with that. But I certainly regret the language that I used.”
Murphy said that the Homewood police officers he spoke with gave him the option of filing a more serious “offense report” that would list Griffith’s offense as harassment, but he declined.
“I didn’t want to do that,” Murphy said. “I just wanted it on the record. He just needs to get his anger problem under control.”
Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims