Q13 Fox statement on police video controversy

May 11, 2010, 4:53 PM | Updated: Mar 28, 2011, 3:46 pm

Over the weekend, I reported on a behind-the-scenes controversy involving a video captured by a freelance photographer that shows a Seattle police officer kicking and yelling a racial slur at a suspect.

This afternoon, Q13 – which was accused of trying to suppress the video because of its production of the show Washington’s Most Wanted – issued a statement about this:

“For the past few days, Q13 FOX has been in the news regarding a controversial videotape that shows Seattle police officers kicking and stomping on a man while he lay on the ground in police custody. The tape was shot on April 17th. We did not air any of the footage on our newscasts until late last week. Some have claimed that we intentionally suppressed the video in an attempt to protect the officers involved. That allegation is completely false, but we believe we owe you an explanation for what happened.

The video is very disturbing. The actions of the officers and the language used by one of them, understandably, elicits an emotional reaction from everyone who sees it. As a result, we felt it was important to learn as much as possible about the circumstances surrounding the incident captured on the video before we aired it. Not doing so would have been reckless and done a disservice to the community and to the police department. We were working to uncover important facts that we believed would add context to the story and better inform our viewers about what they were going to see on the video. For example, we made immediate requests for an incident report and any arrest information. However, no arrest was made and the man detained by police did not come forward or file a complaint. We also filed public records requests for the entire investigative report. In hindsight, we took too long to do so and should have reported the story sooner. We take responsibility for that mistake and we apologize.

Some have suggested our relationship with the Seattle Police Department and other law enforcement agencies around the state, and the fact that we air “Washington’s Most Wanted” may have compromised our judgment in this case. We understand those concerns, but think they are misguided. This was simply a case of taking too long to do the job you expect of us, nothing more. We’re proud of our relationship with law enforcement and the capture of 124 fugitives through our Washington’s Most Wanted program. However, we have not and will not hesitate to report on issues surrounding police.

We are committed to doing better.”

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Q13 Fox statement on police video controversy