News Media Reports Details of Ferguson Officer's Home

Monday, 18 Aug 2014 12:10 PM

By John Blosser

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News media outlets have published details about the residence of the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who killed an unarmed teenager.

The precise address, the name of the Crestwood community where policeman Darren Wilson, 28, lives, a detailed description of his home, even the name of the female police officer with whom he lives, have been written, photographed, video-taped and broadcast so much that the Gateway Pundit blog asked, "Is the media trying to get Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson lynched?"

Wilson last week was identified by the Ferguson police department as the officer who killed Michael Brown, 18, earlier this month. The killing has ignited massive violence, protests, looting, riots and a call-out of the National Guard at the St. Louis suburb.

Yahoo! posted photos of Wilson receiving a commendation at a police ceremony, Breitbart News reported.

Wilson left his home and is staying at an undisclosed location, Breitbart said.

Before the official announcement, a hacker group posted Wilson's name, but it was the wrong Darren Wilson, who posted an Aug. 15 correction.

"The first thing we would like to assure the world is that this is a horrific coincidence. May I assure the world that this is not the president of the Ethical Society of Police who is African-American and happens to be an 18-year veteran of the St. Louis Police Department."

On Aug. 14, the Missouri American Civil Liberties Union filed a court demand for a copy of the incident report of the shooting under the state's sunshine laws, which may have triggered the Ferguson police department's decision to reveal Wilson's name, leading to Wilson's home being specifically identified.

A CNN report showed the front of the house, including the street number. The Daily Mail gave a full description of the house, calling it an "$180,000 bungalow with a pool and a basketball hoop in the drive."

KSDK-TV apologized for running a video of the front of Wilson's home, saying, "Yesterday KSDK showed the video of the Ferguson Police Officer's home in our 5 p.m. news but did not mention the address of the home. KSDK immediately felt using that video was a mistake and pulled the video of the home from future newscasts and from our website. We have not used the video since then and do not intend to do so."

Sandy Davidson, media law professor at the Missouri School of Journalism, told the Columbia Journalism Review, "The situation in Ferguson is pretty tense. So a relevant question is whether release of the officer's name would put him at a foreseeable risk of harm."

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