One segment in the program spotlighted the April shooting deaths of three county residents, including Deputy Bob Davis. Everyone in the Journal newsroom certainly tuned in to watch the program.
But something was amiss. The account depicted in the program differed from the account all the local media have reported this past month.
We were under the impression Bear Lincoln, the prime suspect in Davis' murder, was hidden in bushes while Davis and another deputy engaged Leonard Peters in a gunfight. Then, as Peters lay mortally wounded, Lincoln fired at Davis, killing him.
What emerged in "America's Most Wanted" was this version: Two men, Peters to the front and Lincoln to the rear, walked upon a patrol car. Deputies ordered the two men to drop their weapons, upon which Lincoln fired the first shot and, after Peters was wounded, the last shots that killed Davis.
We asked Sheriff Jim Tuso about the discrepancy. His response was that the news media got the story wrong and that the correct version was depicted by the TV program.
That's disturbing to us. First, the version we've dutifully reported was provided by law enforcement in the first place.
Second, if it was wrong, why didn't Tuso and his deputies notify us to correct the record? Our reporters are in contact with senior sheriff's office officials virtually every day; It's not like there weren't opportunities.
Law enforcement officials have been very quiet about many details about the Covelo shootings, and that's to be expected. This is, after all, a murder investigation, and a suspect is still at large.
But then the officials go on to say that they shared a good deal of previously secret information with the TV people who produced the "America's Most Wanted" episode.
It's quite certain local law enforcement officials are more willing to share information with a national TV audience than they are with their own neighbors.
Perhaps its the bright lights and glitter of Hollywood that spun their heads. Perhaps Tuso's head was spinning with the chance to appear on TV.
We are, after all, a group of humble country dailies and weeklies, and small TV and radio stations, who can't compete with the national spotlight.
But the fact is, Lincoln is a fugitive in this county, not somewhere else. The people who have answers to his whereabouts are here.
Since we gave Tuso the opportunity to comment about this situation Tuesday, we're taking our turn now. If there has been misinformation in this tragic chain of events, it is the fault of law enforcement, not the reporters who have diligently tried to cover it.
We mourn this tragedy like the rest of the county. Nerves are tense, emotions are raw. But that cannot justify the subterfuge that law enforcement is apparently so willing to employ.
With so many allegations of civil rights abuses resulting from the search for Bear Lincoln, and so many discrepancies about what happened that April night, it's time for Tuso, his department and the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department to come clean, and share what they know with the public that they serve.
And that public is not a national TV audience.
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