It seems that Waco Police Department was not happy with the way Raycom owned KXXV reported a story.
Waco Police Sargent WP Swanton took to Facebook and called out the station for their shoddy reporting.
"Last night at 10:00 pm Channel 25 (KXXV) did a news story that was inaccurate and untruthful. We would like to clarify the points of misinformation they told their public and put out the actual facts of what occurred for those interested to read. I will also say that KXXV made absolutely no attempt to verify the information with us before they produced the story. We believe the public has the right to know the whole story and the factual story.
We stand that our community relationships are strong and would hope that inaccurate stories such as these do not disillusion the public that their police force is committed to serving them in the most professional manner possible. We aggressively pursue legitimate complaints against our staff and hold our officers to a very high standard of conduct. Our history speaks volumes of our reputable character and standings with our community!
1. KXXV reported the person they interviewed was assaulted by our officers and that dash cam video of that incident on 5-23-2016 led to the firing of an officer. This statement is absolutely not true. Mr. Furlow was not assaulted by our officers and no officer was fired for anything related to that stop. We were not contacted prior to the story airing and had no opportunity to correct the misinformation before KXXV aired it.
2. KXXV’s reporter states “Dashcam video caught the arrest and got the officer fired” ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE!! Mr. Furlow made a formal complaint and the officers were cleared of any unnecessary use of force complaints related to the stop. We were not contacted prior to the story airing and had no opportunity to correct the misinformation before KXXV aired it.
The factual story is this. The interviewee, Mr. Eric Furlow, was a passenger of a vehicle legally stopped for Expired License Plates and which the driver was arrested for DRIVING WHILE LICENSE INVALID WITH A PREVIOUS CONVICTION and six McLennan County warrants. During the stop, Mr. Furlow refused to exit the vehicle when asked to do so by the officer. Mr. Furlow also refused to provide his name to the officers as he was wanted at the time of the stop. He was arrested and charged with FAILURE TO IDENTIFY AS A FUGITIVE, and RESISTING ARREST due to the fact he refused to follow the lawful order of a Police Officer, would not exit the vehicle, would not listen to instructions to do so and was wanted at the time he refused to provide his identity. We were not provided the opportunity to provide this information to KXXV.
Fact: One of the officers involved in Mr. Furlow’s stop was involved in an incident totally unrelated and ended up being Indefinitely Suspended. That officer is no longer with our department. The investigation and ultimate removal of that officer, goes to show how seriously we take our citizens complaints and will police our own to the point of arresting and filing charges if we have probably cause to do so. That information was immediately released to all of our local news organizations and posted on our Facebook page as soon as we were made aware of the incident.
In today’s society it is imperative that media provide their viewers accurate and complete information. The integrity of everyone they report on is at stake and they should try their best to get it right. Last night KXXV failed to do that.
We are asking them to retract the story or correct it and please, we implore you KXXV, you know you have ample opportunity to verify things, ask us things do open records request, etc, with us prior to putting out information and we ask you to do that. You have no doubt that we are very forthcoming with releasable information to you.
We are not perfect and realize we make mistakes. Our citizens need to know that at Waco PD we take responsibility when we make mistakes, are ferociously honest with the public and they can trust us 100%. They need to know that about you as well.
And Mr. Furlow...Please know...you are currently wanted on an additional warrant and I am asking you to come turn yourself in. This could help you avoid any additional issues with us.
Sgt. WP Swanton
Viewers chimed in on Facebook against KXXV as well:
It appears that the social media pressure worked. It seems the station made nice with the PD, because Sgt. Swanton followed up with this post:
We appreciate KXXV taking this matter to heart and responding so quickly. KXXV's willingness to address this issue shows their intentions of providing integrity in their news coverage.
Waco PD will continue to work towards maintaining the positive relationships we have with all of our citizens, businesses and media outlets.
Thank you Waco for your continuing support!