The Seattle news director whose station turned down the video of a police beating resigned, and an assignment manager has been fired, Seattle news organizations reported.
"I want to let you all know today is my last day here at Q13 FOX. As the leader of this newsroom, I feel that under the circumstances it’s best for me to step aside. I don’t want to allow the issues of the past week to be a distraction to the news staff," News Director Steve Kraycik wrote in his resignation letter, according to Linda Thomas of KIRO Radio.
Thomas said she was given the letter by General ManagerPam Pearson.
Senior assignment editor Cheri Mossburg was fired.Mossburg said she is consulting with a lawyer, Maureen O'Hagan reported in the Seattle Times.
As reported on Wednesday, Kraycik apologized for not airing footage that shows Seattle police officers stomping on a man's head and body. At one point, an officer can be heard saying: "You got me? I'm going to beat the [expletive] Mexican piss out of you, homey. You feel me?"
After KCPQ-TV, known as Q13, did not air the footage that freelance photographer Jud Morris offered the station, Morris posted a video of the beating on YouTube and sold the footage to competitor KIRO-TV for $100.
Morris said KCPQ-TV then fired him. KCPQ is challenging KIRO over rights to the footage.
"The NAACP on Tuesday said Q-13 'seems to have played a substantial role in delaying and actively suppressing the release of the video in this case,' and one civil rights leader accused the station of obstruction of justice," KIRO reported Thursday. It noted that the Fox affiliate waited nearly three weeks to air the video.
On the night of the beating, Dominic Holden of the blog the Slog reported on May 7, Morris "saw a bunch of cop cars take off and he filmed the incident.
"But when he tried to sell the footage to Q-13 the next day, he says, they refused to air it.
" 'I was told flat out . . . that this video will not go to air — we will not air it,' Morris says. 'They said it is not that egregious. Those were the exact words.' "
Morris told Journal-isms on Friday that those words were Mossburg's.
The freelancer told the Slog that he suspected the station wanted to protect its relationship with police. It airs "Washington's Most Wanted," a weekly show that details fugitives and highlights police work. The station has denied that pleasing the police was its motivation, maintaining that it was seeking more information.
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists Wednesday night said, "13 has done a disservice to Latinos, to journalism and to its audience."
"The Seattle FBI office has started a routine investigation of the incident, and the findings are expected to be forwarded to the Civil Rights Section of the Department of Justice, Special Agent Fred Gutt said," according to Casey McNerthney of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the defunct newspaper that is now a Web-only operation.
Meanwhile, the family of the Latino man seen being stomped on and yelled at said they were "disappointed" with the officers' conduct.
In a statement on behalf of Martin Monetti, the firm Schroeter, Goldmark & Bender described the April 17 incident as "an unprovoked and illegal physical assault by two Seattle officers, one of whom used racist language."
The statement said the "media firestorm" surrounding the event has overwhelmed the family, and said no press conference with Monetti was planned, according to KIRO-TV.
"Meanwhile, Morris, the videographer, has come up with a side project: selling T-shirts that capitalize on the uproar," O'Hagan reported in the Seattle Times. "'Get your Seattle Police beating T-shirts,' he posted on Twitter.
"One has the Q13 logo and disparages the station.
"The other has a still shot from the video and references the officer's words."