Saturday, June 03, 2006

Flying Circles
Being a Vulture is Just Part of the Job

Cell Phone StalkerI had 2 very interesting comments in response to my Blog Post titled "Cell Phone Stalking: Court House Style". The first one was from the lady I mentioned in the blog who laid on the horn to "mess up" our video. The second comment is anonymous but along the same train of thought. Both comments basically call the news business to the carpet for doing our jobs while defending 2 jailers who were just "doing their jobs" when an inmate was killed.

Due to the nature of the comments I feel like a point by point response is in order...

At 9:54
PM, May 20, 2006
, Anonymous said...
It seems to me that, from a news standpoint, you might realize that there are TWO sides to every story.

And as with every criminal case we cover, we have and continue to extend an open invitation to both defendants in this case to go on the record about the charges and allegations against them. A defendant choosing not to talk does not mean, however, that the media won't continue to pursue the story and print or broadcast all the information that we can gather.

The media has done all it can to hype up the sympathy for this ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT who died while in a struggle with law enforcement officers in jail. Why was he in jail? Let me list just a few of the charges...DRUNK DRIVING, hit-and-run, reckless endangerment, resisting arrest...And while he was in jail, he became agitated & violent, threatening others with a broken-off mop handle...he had to be placed in restraints because he got so out of hand!!

First, no one has said that the victim was illegal. Personally I think that's irrelevant. Yes he was in taken to the jail to be tested for DUI, though he was not held for that charge because he only blew a .07...NOT DRUNK. He was charged for taking the car of a co-worker without permission, and yes he had a fender bender and left the scene. Hardly a hardened criminal. His friends and family could have picked him up that very night on a very low bond, but wanted him to think about it in jail for a day or so. I don't remember anything about resisting arrest in the Thomasville Police Arrest Report that I read.

and while he was in jail, he became agitated & violent, threatening others with a broken-off mop handle...he had to be placed in restraints because he got so out of hand!!

I don't know what happened in the jail to make him mad, but I do know that enough time had passed that he wasn't under the influence of that .07 any longer.

How can you news people not see that maybe - just maybe - this is
simply a case of self-defense on behalf of the officers? The inmate had to
be shot with a taser gun and he STILL would not settle down and act like he
had some sense. Language barrier or not, anyone can tell what is trying to
be communicated in this type of situation. The officers were trying to
take away a WEAPON that the prisoner was using to provoke others in the

I don't know what kind of inside information you have but you just stated that they put him into restraints and then they were tasing him.(maybe you wrote it out of order) Maybe it was self defense. Maybe the officers were justified in shooting him with the taser gun numerous times all over the body and causing him to die due to a blunt trauma to the head. That's still to be seen. I do know that the DA says there is enough evidence to warrant charging the two jailers.
But the media only wants to show the public the most sensational and attention-grabbing side of the story about this "poor imigrant" who was in this country to support his family back home. BIG DEAL!!! You people disgust me with your hot-shot stories and you make no attempt what-so-ever to gather all of the information to present a thorough report.

No, like I said before, there is an open invitation for the two defendants in this case to talk to us on the record. We've contacted the lawyers of both defendants and they know that the invite to talk stands. The family of the victim stepped forward and had their say. There is no reason the defendants shouldn't have that chance too. That's not up to me, that's up to them.

Leave those two officers alone! They were doing their jobs, and you vultures
just want to shove a camera in their faces & put them on public display as if they are the criminals. They're not!!

They are defendants in a high profile killing in a taxpayer funded detention facility. The public deserves to know what happened, and what's going to happen. Yes, we do our best to get video of the people involved in the stories we cover. If those people choose to run from us we will chase them down. When we catch them we will still ask them if they have anything to say. No they are not criminals. That's not for me to decide, that's for the jury.

And by the way, I am the "other lady" who laid on the horn when you were
hounding Officer Huie...I should have tried to run one of you idiots over
instead. How's THAT for a news story?!?

That'd be a great story...sounds like assault and battery to me. Wouldn't be the first time.

And then the second comment....

At 2:00
PM, June 03, 2006
, Anonymous said...
I have to say that I agree with the above statement. At this point now, I'm sure you've decided not to continue reading the following statements because they don't agree with yours. I'm curious to know, while you're busy staking out the courthouse, are you getting paid?

Absolutely. Why would I do that for free?

I ask because I wonder if you've ever worked a job/career where
you are expected to put your life on the line everyday! Inmates are in
prison/jail for a reason, they broke the law! While I don't disagree that
sometimes things happen and innocent people end up in jail by mistake, those
people generally don't threaten those around them. Especially, those who are
essentially their "care takers" while in jail.

My father was a police officer. One day while in a foot chase he was knocked to the ground by the guy he was chasing landing across a hard concrete corner with his lower back. He severely injured his lower back and it was 20 agonizing years before the right surgery came along to really do anything about it. Being a cop in the 60s there were no great benefits to let him rest on his laurels for the rest of eternity.

As for me, I wouldn't say I put my life on the line everyday for my job, save for the last statement in the first comment above. I wouldn't have a problem going to Iraq to document the war. You may have heard that a cameraman was killed there last week in a roadside bomb attack. There are elements of dangers in my job here stateside too. We camp out on the side of the road on an almost daily basis. We go into strange, lower class, crime ridden neighborhoods everyday. We drive on the highways and street everyday.(Statistically higher chance of dying than from flying!) But I agree that LEOs including jailers have an extremely difficult job dealing with the worst elements of society on a daily basis. But as one of my reporter friends likes to say..."We're kind of like cops...we go where they go and deal with the same people they deal with...we just carry cameras instead of guns."

The media has gone crazy lately. I don't believe 95% of the stuff reported
in the papers or on the news anymore. While doctors and nurses, etc are held by
a code of ethics, it doesn't seem that reporters have any type of ethics,
responsibility, honesty, decency, etc. They gather a few tidbits of info that
may or maynot be true, twist it and turn it until it's absolutely no resemblence
of what it started to be just to beat the competition in "getting the story out

Unlike the codes of conduct and ethics established for doctors, lawyers, etc..., you can't legislate free speech. There are libel and slander laws that cover issues involving out and out incorrect reporting against individuals.

And as with any profession there are bad apples, those who don't follow protocol and cause bad things to happen. In your example you see stories on TV and in the papers that seem to be based on falsities and bad reporting. In this story a man is dead! Two jailers beat him to death! Whether or not they are found guilty as charged will be determined by a plea or a jury.

Personally I am very big on getting the story right the first time. I check and double check the facts of every story I work on. I do my best to gather information from more than one source even double checking official sources like the DA or LEO reports.

I also don't discriminate....I have also written stories about members of the media who have had their run ins with the law.

I follow the ethics guidelines of the National Press Photographer's Association. There are several trade associations that others journalist use as their guidelines, most overlapping and having similar codes of ethics.

We already have a shortage in alot of significant professions, such as
nursing. Law enforcement is not much better. I think I will see the day in my
time when we have such a shortage, no where will be safe to live. No one will
want to be in law enforcement, etc because everybody is "sue happy" these days.
Why not? People are too lazy to work and are looking for the easy buck!

Anything an employee does as a part of his or her job in any job, especially a public job, is generally the civil responsibility of the employer. Even in this case, the civil responsibility may soley lie with the Sheriff's Department. This is the point where good and ongoing training in the particular job field come in handy.

What better way than to turn self defense into murder. Not only does your
family get an express pass to be here legally, but they also don't have to worry
about lawyer expenses because the taxpayers that live here legally and are law
abiding citizens will take care of that bill, not to mention whatever comes from
all of the civil suits the family's ambulance chasing lawyer choses to file!

The murder charge is up to the DA and is completely separate and apart from the civil side of the case. But you are right...If you remember the case of OJ Simpson a few years back...He wasn't found guilty but is paying a hefty amount to the family. But that's just the difference in criminal and civil law. The civil court will be left to decide that part of the case and just who's resposbile for the damages that may be incurred.

(BTW - The victim in this case was also a taxpayer with a legitimate job with taxes being withheld.)

What the heck, maybe I'll take off to another country and live. Oh, yeah,
other countries don't allow illegal immigrants to have more civil rights than
their own citizens!! Only in America right! The Land of Opportunity!!

Exactly. And other countries don't even allow their own citizens to have the freedoms that we have here in the great ol' USA. The freedom to express ourselves. The freedom to think independently. The freedom to have a jury of our peers decide our fate. In some countries those jailers would have already been executed.


Anonymous said...

I think your wrong on that last point, the jailers would not have been executed, because the public would not have know. In fact, in most foreign countries, they probably get praise for hurting/killing an inmate.

As far as the horn lady, I am trying to restrain myself and not stoop to the same level as to insinuate phyiscal harm to another human.

Anonymous said...

Well said TVPhotog, it seems to me that your critics are the ones taking a one sided and mostly uninformed view. I, for one, would love to remind all that there are mean, vicious, nasty, ugly, arrogant, ignorant, and evil people in ALL walks of life. So it cannot be said that they are absolutely innocent just because they are in a position of trust. The news will report, the system will probe and possibly prosecute, and so it will go. And as for MS. Horn Lady, I'm thinkin' I can see a couple of those categories where she just might fit.

SassyJill said...

Not familar with the case or the story, but seems to me you're getting nailed by public stupidity.

It's easy to cast Media as the "bad guy" because we put ourselves out there everyday to be judged buy an uneducated Jury.

Many of these folks seem to want to do away with our "useless" profession. It's funny how so many hate us but the minute they need something from us we're heroes (i.e. finding a killer or missing child.)

Can't please everyone, glad you're not even trying.