I want to take a moment and address the “elephant” in the room… the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
As most of you know, before Officer Langsdorf’s family could even arrive at the hospital yesterday the Post was already running a story with a link to a live stream of his last moments here with us on earth.
After taking several phone calls from Blue Family members, I was infuriated. I immediately went to work on figuring out who we could contact to get it taken down. I was given the number to the Sunday evening editor, Jane. I’m going to give Jane more respect than they afforded the Blue Family and just use her first name.
After informing Jane who I was, I began explaining the personal experiences I’ve lived through and how inappropriate it was for them to share this link at this time. The moments after an officer is shot can be chaotic and it’s challenging to sometimes get all of the family members informed and to the hospital. I shared with her our experience as a family, and how happy I was that the video attached to Charles’ shooting was not shared immediately. I explained to her the level of trauma that they were exposing other officers the community, and especially the family to. I told her how it was reckless and irresponsible and could not be reversed. I asked that they pull it down and issue an apology. A large-scale news agency owes that to the public.
Her response was: Well, it was just a mistake. Don’t you people in law enforcement want to know what happened? We are just trying to report what happened. (Clearly, she didn’t get it)
My response before hanging up (before I used language that wouldn’t help the situation), was: there are better and more responsible ways to do so. How dare you take your responsibility so lightly!
Now, before you all jump on this feed talking about what a disgraceful display of behavior this was and why would I waste my time and expect anything more from them, I’m going to tell you: just save it. We have to start demanding more!
Let’s face it… we have all become a part of the problem. We watch and share these live streams like crazy. We put up these links to things that we know should burn our eyes off. It’s all toxic talk! We as a law enforcement community cannot demand better when we continue to share images that are hurtful to the community and families as well. It will take all of us to demand better from our media sources.
I remember when Charles was shot the picture of the man standing outside of his shot-up car was shared more than his story of survival because of his vest. The only way to stop these stories is to tune out and to hold the media associated with them responsible.
I do want to offer this: the video was shocking and horrible, but the one thing I am grateful for was the two beautiful women who sprang into action. One trying desperately to summon help on his radio for him, and the other holding his hand and trying her best to comfort him!! Two normal civilians, yet far from ordinary. Yes, it was despicable that someone was live streaming but these two ladies showed us that good people are really out there. They didn’t care what race he was. They didn’t care that he was an officer. They didn’t care about a growing divide between law enforcement and community members. They saw a fellow human being in need. I thank them for showing us that we can be better.
- READ: NEWSPAPER SHARES LIVE STREAM LINK OF OFFICER’S DEATH, REPLACES WITH NEGATIVE CHARACTER ATTACK WHEN CALLED OUT
Blue Family: let’s not dwell on what was done wrong. Lets highlight what’s right! I’m proud of the countless pictures and testimonials about Officer Langsdorf that have gone up overnight. Let’s make that narrative go viral Let’s take care of each other today!! I’m asking that no stories from the St Louis Post Dispatch be highlighted or shared, until at the very least an apology is issued!! I’m calling on our city and county officials to demand that for our fallen officer.
Written by Kelli Hill-Lowe