Was it just me, or did anyone else find the above Associated Press story about the recent shooting in Ferguson, Missouri that ran in today’s Maui News to be bitterly funny? Of course, there’s nothing funny about the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Or the fact that residents and activists are outraged over the death and the department’s refusal to name the officer who killed Brown.
“The local authorities have put themselves in a position–hiding names and not being transparent–where people will not trust anything but an objective investigation,” Sharpton said in the AP story.
But there is something funny about a newspaper that sees a police department thousands of miles away that’s refusing to name an officer who killed someone as news when the same paper treats the same policy over here–withholding the names of cops in officer-involved shootings–as non-news.
Remember Marshall Langford? An officer with the Maui Police Department shot and killed Langford at the Mana Kai hotel parking lot back in May 2012. We still don’t know who the officer is because department policy–like that in Ferguson, Missouri–is to keep secret the names of cops who shoot people in the line of duty.
I found three stories written around the time of Langford’s shooting in The Maui News‘ online archives. Here are their headlines:
• “Man pulls a gun, is shot dead by officer” (May 23, 2012)
• “Man shot by a police didn’t have a gun, family claims” (May 24, 2012)
• “Officials say shotgun in reach of man shot by police” (May 25, 2012)
As you can see, none of the headlines confronted the issue that the Maui PD wouldn’t name the officer who shot and killed Langford. And as you’d expect, the stories didn’t raise any alarm over that fact, either (the most they would do is dryly note in the May 24, 2012 story that “Police said Wednesday that they were not releasing the officer’s name” before dropping the issue).
Maybe because Al Sharpton wasn’t out here to raise the issue, The Maui News just didn’t think it was news.