O-Town Police Demand WFTV to Apologize

Looks like WFTV in Orlando is in hot water with the Orlando Police Department.

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OPD went into great detail Wednesday in blasting WFTV-Channel 9’s “irresponsible reporting” about a female shooting victim at Middlebrook Farms apartment complex.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that Sgt. Jim Young, spokesman for the department, ripped the ABC affiliate in an email for implying that the police had wrongly identified the victim and for incorrectly stating that she had a criminal past.

Young asked WFTV to produce a correction and apologize on the air to “demonstrate some degree of compassion for victims and their families.”   

The victims in the case were identified as Khoy Williams, 24, and Jonathan Cook, 17, both of Kissimmee. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

WFTV news director Matt Parcell said, “If we make a mistake we correct it as quickly as possible.”

In its online version of the story, WFTV added at the end: “WFTV incorrectly identified that Williams had a criminal history, but she did not. WFTV apologizes for the error.”

Young wrote: “This story has caused not only distraught for the victims’ families, but has also potentially jeopardized the investigation.  The family is extremely upset that WFTV has stated their daughter had a criminal history and stated what that history was, which is not true of the victim.  The investigation is potentially harmed as the public would most likely not provide information if believing a victim has a criminal past, which the victim in this case has none. In fact, one of the emails to me yesterday from WFTV was asking to confirm her date of birth, which I did as the original information I sent out.”

In an interview, Young said his intention was not to call out WFTV or berate the station, but to make sure everyone is reporting the facts.  ”In this case, I wanted to ensure everyone had the same facts, so nobody would repeat or provide misinformation,” he said.

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