Seattle Fox affiliate KCPQ-TV Q13 turned down a freelance photographer’s video that captured police beating a Hispanic man on April 17. Turns out the guy was an innocent victim. The station rejected the photographer’s offer, so he put the video up on YouTube and then competing station KIRO-7 bought the raw footage for $100.
KIRO station aired the video, which shows police insulting and kicking a man in the head, using a racial epithet. When they realized they had the wrong man, they gave him a pat in the back and sent him on his way. The FBI is now investigating the incident.
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists has criticized management’s decision delay airing the video for almost a month, saying Q13 failed to report the news and did a disservice to the Latino community.
In a statement, the station has defends its position, claiming they were investigating the circumstances before airing the video.
Al Tompkins, from the Poynter Institute, writes about the incident and points out there is a problem when journalists withhold information.
The interesting thing about this episode is that now Q13 is now fighting KIRO over the rights to the footage, because the freelance photographer was working for them that night.