The following editorial is written by a retired police officer and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.
HARTFORD, CT- To make it perfectly clear, Law Enforcement Today will not be changing our policy on either posting every mugshot of every criminal that we report about. Nor will we change our policy on identifying suspects in a crime by their race.
To make it perfectly clear, we do not discriminate. We will show mug shots and use physical descriptions of ANY and ALL criminals.
You may wonder why we would post this policy.
The Hartford Courant in Connecticut, the oldest continuously published newspaper in the country, announced on its Instagram page and online that as of Friday, the paper would “begin dramatically scaling back its use of mugshots on crime stories,” including on its website www.courant.com and in the physical newspaper.
The paper in an “editor’s note” announced mugshots would only be used in “exceptional circumstances.” They also announced other policies that remove race from the conversation in most news stories.
The paper explained their reasons for doing so, and of course it all has to do with political correctness and identity politics. It was explained that the paper has had a longstanding policy of avoiding identifying a suspect in a criminal proceeding by their race unless “absolutely necessary to the telling of the story.”
So, we aren’t sure but say there is a bank robbery, and the suspects are a black male and a white male; would the Courant believe that was germane to the story, or would it be reported as a “white male and some other dude of an unknown color?” Maybe that falls under “absolute necessity,” and they could identify the race of both suspects.
Then there is the issue of mugshots. The Courant said that by publishing mugshots, it works to “undermine that policy.” Of course, the Courant worries that mugshots can “enforce stigmas, especially around individuals and communities of color.” In other words, they don’t want to report the truth, being that minorities statistically offend at a higher rate than whites.
These are the facts backed up by statistics. The Courant appears to believe that if we hide the truth, it will disappear.
In a day and age where the media routinely censors content that isn’t politically correct or which pushes a particular agenda, this is hardly surprising.
The editor said that by posting mugshots, they “often reinforce stereotypes, bolstering prejudicial assumptions.” The truth hurts in Courant-land apparently.
So, where did the Courant come up with this politically correct claptrap? It is based upon a recommendation from an internal “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee” which the Courant established in their newsroom for the purposes of reviewing the paper’s policies and practices.
Then, there is George Floyd, he of the drug-induced psychosis who had numerous co-morbidities and who died in police custody in Minneapolis last May.
Floyd’s death of course has been blamed on a police officer kneeling on his neck area, however a medical examiner ruled his death was not caused by traumatic asphyxiation from his neck being kneeled on.
Nonetheless, Floyd’s death set off a summer of violent riots that were excused by the media and primarily Democratic politicians. It also led to the group Black Lives Matter enriching itself while nobody knows where the money is going. That however is another story.
The Courant says that in the wake of Floyd’s death (which they referred to as a “killing”), that newspapers throughout the US have attempted to analyze “how biases influence coverage and take steps to eliminate those biases.”
So in other words, if the Courant (and other papers such as The Baltimore Sun, which they took the policies from) are attempting to spin the truth for their readers, as if spinning the truth somehow changes the facts.
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“Mugshots depict people at their worst moments, often invoking stereotypes about Black and Latino defendants,” the committee wrote in a note disseminated to the newsroom.
“Due to associations between mugshots and criminality, these images project guilt onto people who have been charged but not convicted of crimes.”
So, the Courant refers to Floyd’s death as a “murder,” yet none of the officers charged have yet been convicted of anything. And their pictures have been plastered all over the media, including in the Courant.
In fact, a story printed in the paper just days ago about the Floyd case showed mugshot photos of all four Minneapolis police officers charged in Floyd’s death…charged, not convicted of anything. Oh, but they’re police officers so they don’t get the same consideration as other “criminals.”
The paper is also upset that some police departments in Connecticut are more willing to provide mugshots of arrestees, while others are not. So it’s apparently a question of fairness.
The claim is that the publishing of mugshots “was disproportionately driven by the municipality in which the arrest took place.” Bad, naughty police departments for wanting to be open and transparent.
The Courant noted that other papers have made similar changes to their policies, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Sacramento Bee.
Oh, but here’s the catch…the exceptions.
The Courant notes that “if the defendant is a public figure, such as an elected official, if an alleged crime has received broad regional or national notoriety [emphasis added] or if there is a particular and exceptional reason to believe printing a mugshot is necessary for public safety, we may use a mugshot.” Any such decisions would be made on a “case-by-case basis by senior managers.”
“Broad regional or national notoriety.” Kind of like police officers allegedly killing a man in police custody in Minneapolis. That’s an exception!
The paper is adopting a so-called “style guide” developed by the Baltimore Sun. It notes:
The mission of this style guide is to ensure that our coverage is “as respectful, accurate, inclusive and fair as possible.” It demonstrates how to write precisely and authoritatively on topics related to black, Latino and Hispanic communities, the LGBTQ+ community, and people with disabilities, as well as various socioeconomic conditions and mental health disorders.
The paper said it’s using the guide in order to become “a more inclusive” organization.
Law Enforcement Today also prides itself on being an inclusive organization. We include all criminals…white, black, brown…males, females and everything in between…Catholics, protestants, Jews, Muslims…we discriminate against nobody who commits crimes. We crucify criminals on an equal opportunity basis.
Do you want to accuse us of not being “woke” enough? That’s great…we wear that as a badge of honor.
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