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Orlando Police Demand Apology, Correction from WFTV

The Orlando Police department is demanding an apology and a correction for some reporting related to a double shooting Monday night.

During his 5pm liveshot, WFTV reporter Christopher Heath held up a police document and reported that two of the victims, a teenager named Jonathan Cook and a woman named Khoy Williams had criminal records. “Mr. Cook had one incident. Khoy Williams had an extensive criminal history including drug charges and prostitution charges,” reported Heath.

But Orlando PD says that’s not right, and says the station showed the wrong picture of Williams. Writes Orlando PD public information officer Sergeant Jim Young:

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.

Young is requesting an apology as well as on air and online corrections. “It is irresponsible reporting to mislead the public and provide them wrong information,” he writes.

WFTV did add this note to the end of the online version of the story: “WFTV incorrectly identified that Williams had a criminal history, but she did not. WFTV apologizes for the error.”

> More: An on-air correction came during today’s Noon newscast: “We reported that Williams had a criminal history. She did not have a criminal history. Channel 9 regrets the error.”

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

Young’s letter, after the jump…

Good Morning,

WFTV had been reporting that the female victim of the shooting at Middlebrook Farms has a criminal history and they showed an picture of someone who is not the victim. Today, they have implied that the police have wrongly identified the victim.

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.

My information provided to the media has been accurate and factual. The victims in this case are identified as Khoy Williams 7-28-88 and Jonathan Cook 3-7-95. I have attached photos of the victims.

I am requesting that WFTV and any news organization that may have used their information, to immediately produce a correction.

I am requesting that WFTV apologize on air and their on-line story to ensure that factual and accurate information is provided and demonstrate some degree of compassion for victims and their families. It is irresponsible reporting to mislead the public and provide them wrong information.

I will always ensure a professional working relationship with the media and the reporters. I will always provide as many details as available, and will continue to do so. Providing mere speculation on any case would be irresponsible on my part, and that is why I will confirm facts. Our number one priority is to solve crimes, and provide public safety.

Anyone having information about this crime is requested to call Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous. There is no updates regarding the investigation, which is active an on-going. Thank you.

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