Daily Breeze crime reporter Larry Altman just posted an interesting piece illustrating the potential emotional pitfalls of his job. On January 2, Altman wrote a piece about the violent and seemingly random murder of Cristian Alvarez in Wilmington. In the piece, he included what appeared to many to be a throwaway graph about Alvarez’s recent run-in with the law.
“County court records showed Cristy Alvarez was charged in July with burglary and theft. The charges, which stemmed from a Carson sheriff’s station case, were dismissed without prosecution. No other details were available.”
Alvarez’s brother let it be known in the comment section of the piece that he did not appreciate his sister’s relatively innocuous record being dragged into a story about her brutal murder.
“This guy seriously went through her record… Piece of s—. I’m her “brother jonathan” and she is beautifull and the best companion in life i miss my sister cristy. I love u sister see u soon.”
Altman says a slew of critical (and some anti-Semetic) comments flew his way in the following days over the inclusion of that graph. Altman was stung by the criticism, and, yesterday, explained his thinking behind the graph in a blog post.
Cristy Alvarez did not deserve to die that morning. And the impact of her death is not just limited to her and her grieving family. It has also shaken a working-class community with fears that a heartless killer is on the loose. Residents have a right to know as much as they can about a crime and its victim, even when that information might hurt those hit hardest by her passing.
Comments on Altman’s post are respectful, but mixed.