Todd Paris, Staff Writer and Salisbury Attorney
♦ On January 19th, 2017 David Whisenant of WBTV filed an excellent report and online article regarding the press conference last Thursday held by members of local clergy after the autopsy in the Ferguson Laurent “officer involved shooting” emerged that demonstrated there ten bullet wounds. This, after the Salisbury City “Rumor Control Page” earlier printed as fact that the officer only fired twice and the City released the same claim in a hurried press conference and in press releases they provided to the media. Whisenant’s reporting is of such quality that the facts need not be repeated here and thus, this link:
The City’s recent statement on their “Rumor Control Page” was published in response to the Clergy’s News Conference and speaks of “… where assumptions, accusations and misinformation have been shared with the public and the news media.” It further states, “The characterization that we are being secretive or not forthcoming is highly inaccurate. We continue to stand by the decision to not comment at this time until the SBI investigation is concluded.“ Their full statement may be found in Wisenant’s report.
The clergy members involved in this news conference are educated, professional clergy and quite able to read and understand the released autopsy report and are fully cognizant and able to recollect the city’s false statements that only two shots were fired by law enforcement, even on this, their Rumor Control Page, that “valuable tool” that “has been employed to dispute false information…”
Disparaging these clergy members by accusing them of spreading assumptions, accusations, misinformation and making inaccurate characterizations is unforgivable, particularly when it was the city’s own misinformation that started the controversy in the first place.
It should not surprise city hall that even the most basic “facts” from their entire account of events that night, are now being called into question. For a city that says they can not comment, they certainly have said a lot, the most important part was proven false. Retreating behind “no further comment until the SBI report comes in” whenever they get asked a question that they don’t want to answer, could seem secretive and dishonest to the reasonable citizen. At this, they seem surprised.
One might expect local clergy and community to remember this disrespect when Mayor Alexander, Brian Miller and Maggie Blackwell come “around to visit” this fall looking for a few votes.
Clearly the Black Community is expected to believe what they are told and those with “concerns” will only be met with propaganda, fake news, and disparagement in the pages of Salisbury City Hall “Rumor Control.”