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WISH Responds to Viewer Complaints Over Story About Alleged Cop Killer


After Indianapolis Metropolitan Police officer Perry Renn was killed in the line of duty Saturday night, CBS affiliate WISH aired a story giving the alleged killer’s family time to give their thoughts about the shooting.

In the story, the family said when Major Davis, Jr., the alleged gunman, was young his father was killed by police. At the end of the story, reporter Jessica Smith told viewers, “The family did say it is sorry for Officer Renn’s family, but they said the tragedy may have been avoided if Officer Renn would’ve stayed at his car since he could see Davis had a gun.”

Viewers reacted to the story. On facebook, one viewer commented, “Unbelievable! I’ve been a long-time supporter of WISH TV, but this is completely unacceptable to me.”

Today, news director Steve Bray wrote on the station’s website in part, “As a news organization, we provide balanced coverage and both sides of the story. Our obligation to you is to cover every angle of a story.”

Bray went on to say, “We wanted to give insight into the mind of the people/family who were involved so there was some context and exposure for you into this world. For some, maybe it’s a world you are already familiar with; for others it may be something you cannot even comprehend. It was difficult for many of us to watch and understand — mostly for the reporter who did the story. Her father is a veteran of IMPD.” Read the full text of Bray’s comments after the jump.

Here is the full text of Bray’s comments.

Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to Officer Renn’s family and friends during this extremely difficult time. A brave husband, friend and hero lost his life in another senseless crime. We have seen way too many lives lost to violence in Indianapolis, but it is even more heart wrenching to see someone who answered the call every day to protect us. We also extend our sympathy to the IMPD family and offer thanks to those who continue to stand on the Thin Blue Line.

We have received numerous comments about a story we covered on Sunday involving the family of Major Davis Jr., the accused killer of Officer Renn. As a news organization, we provide balanced coverage and both sides of the story. Our obligation to you is to cover every angle of a story. That obligation unfortunately, at times, includes uncomfortable subjects or comments that are difficult to hear, or even make you angry. And while we are journalists, everyone on our staff is human as well and we have similar reactions. So these are situations we take very seriously.

By showing the other side, you were able to get the answer to “why someone would do this?” We wanted to give insight into the mind of the people/family who were involved so there was some context and exposure for you into this world. For some, maybe it’s a world you are already familiar with; for others it may be something you cannot even comprehend. It was difficult for many of us to watch and understand — mostly for the reporter who did the story. Her father is a veteran of IMPD.

This story was just a small part of our complete coverage, with the vast majority honoring the fallen officer for his service. We will continue to do so this week as he is laid to rest. Again, we honor him for his dedication to duty and we hope you understand the tough choices we have to make in doing ours. Like our viewers, we want justice to be served.

Steve Bray
News Director, WISH-TV 24-Hour News 8

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