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Police Say WPEC Not The Station Chief Called ‘Racist,’ WPEC Mad at Blogger’s Report

wpec_304West Palm Beach CBS affiliate WPEC has been cleared by the Riviera Beach police department of disturbing the police chief Friday night, an incident which reportedly led him to call the offending crew racist in an email.

The story, which was first reported by Gossip Extra said Riviera Beach Police Chief Clarence Williams called a WPEC crew racist after they disturbed his neighbors and 87-year-old mother when they showed up at his door Friday night looking for answers about an amber alert hat had been canceled.

Now, both Riviera Beach police and WPEC have turned their attention to Gossip Extra and want the media blog to retract its story.

In an email obtained by TVSpy, Riviera Police PIO Rose Ann Brown tells Jose Lambiet of Gossip Extra, “Our investigation has revealed that the news crew that visited the Chief’s home WAS NOT FROM WPEC CHANNEL 12.” Brown adds, “I request that you send an update to your distribution list clarifying that WPEC Channel 12 DID NOT go to the Chief’s home. Thank you for assisting in informing readers that WPEC Channel 12 was not involved in that reprehensible behavior. ”

Lambiet based his report on an email from Chief Williams.

WPEC Michael Pumo tells Gossip Extra, “As you now know the true facts about the incident from last Friday night and that WPEC provided in its story a factually correct representation of that nights events, I’m demanding a retraction due to the conclusion of the police departments investigation.” Pumo then tells Lambiet “Its irresponsible for anyone to suggest that our coverage was racist.”

But Lambiet fired back at WPEC in his own email, “Did the chief deny writing the email?” writes Lambiet. “Whether it was WPEC or anyone else in the chief’s driveway is really of no consequence. He, a public official, accused you of racism without even being sure it was you. Instead of going after him, which you wouldn’t dare doing, you’re complaining about me?”

In a follow up to his initial story posted Monday, Lambiet defended WPEC saying “At the age of Donald Sterling, hollering racism can throw someone’s else life upside down — sometimes for no valid reason. Just bringing up the “R” word can translate into a scarlet letter for the person who may, or may not, have displayed racism.” he then added while he’s no fan of WPEC, “Neither CBS12 nor [news director] McCormick deserve this.”

Pumo’s full email can be read after the jump.

Here is the full email from Michael Pumo:

Jose,

I’m writing you after meeting with the Riveria Beach Police Chief and PIO.  As you now know the true facts about the incident from last Friday night and that WPEC provided in its story a factually correct representation of that nights events, I’m demanding a retraction due to the conclusion of the police departments investigation.  I’d like to point out that the email and article you wrote were based on numerous factual errors.  Its irresponsible for anyone to suggest that our coverage was racist.  WPEC-TV and Sinclair Broadcasting are committed to providing fair and balanced coverage of all news stories.

Again, I will make the offer that BEFORE you write anything about WPEC, its people or our coverage, I’d advise you calling me directly and I will comment if appropriate. I’m distressed that even in a gossip column you wouldn’t want to make sure there is some truth in what you are writing before releasing it to the public.

I’m sending a copy of the PIO’s statement under seperate cover.

Sincerely,

Michael J. Pumo
General Manager
WPEC-TV

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