What was lost in the coverage of a student journalist and a Philadelphia cop

sacm-philly

Update: 7:40 p.m. on April 23, 2009: The involved officer was suspended with intent to dismiss. That news also came from the Inquirer and Daily News.

Update: 10:12 p.m. on May 6, 2009: Ms. McDonald was the feature of a cover story in the Northeast Times.

The attention has probably subsided enough to write this now.

Shannon McDonald, whom I’ve known for nearly two years, got a round of 15 minutes of fame she didn’t quite want.

On March 31, the Philadelphia Daily News ran a story on the growing ire of a group of the city’s black cops.

The controversy surrounded around a single officer, and, it seems, Shannon started it all.

At least a month before, the 21-year-old senior Temple University journalism student had to write a feature story for a class. So, thinking a cop-ride-along would be a simple, strong and fast assignment for a class she’s eager to finish, Shannon contacted the 22nd Philadelphia police district, which covers her assigned Strawberry Mansion neighborhood.

Then she wrote, as would surprise no one who knows her, a tidy, professional 900-word profile on Bill Thrasher, the officer with whom she rode. That was in February. It was a school assignment.

I spoke to her after the ride along.

“How was it?” I asked.

“OK,” she said, in a way that makes me certain she neither expected nor wanted any attention for the story.

It took a month for her expectations to be proven shortsighted.

One of the many remarkable aspects of the Internet is its leveling of hierarchies. There was a time, not so long ago, that class assignments were graded, filed and forgotten. Today, they are legacies.

Shannon filed her story, and it took a month for someone to get mad about it — really mad about it.

I read her story when she first finished it. I was moved by her ability to get the officer to feel comfortable enough with her to speak frankly. In the ensuing aftermath, she was criticized for being deceptive, when, in fact, as any good journalist will suggest, if you can’t get someone, a stranger even, to open up to you, then you aren’t worth shit as a journalist.

Officer Thrasher, of course, as the story goes, certainly did open up to Shannon. He was a white, baby-faced 24-year-old rookie cop working in a neighborhood where 24 is old and young, black boys die, often at the hands of other young, black boys.

Thrasher spoke bluntly — calling some of the neighbors “like animals” — but while the generalizations were alarming, they wouldn’t be surprising to anyone who knows young cops who patrol poor, black neighborhoods. What lurched forward the alarm over the story was Thrasher’s use of a certain term with other officers, including a supervising lieutenant. TNS, he explained to Shannon, with pen and pad, means “typical nigger shit.”

And that’s how media firestorms begin.

The first I saw of it came on DomeLights, which for those of you not fortunate enough to know, is an open, anonymous forum for Philly cops — equal parts enlightening and distressing, true candy for the voyeur at heart. When the Daily News story came out, another DomeLights thread followeda third came later still, maybe more, I’ve lost track.

At first, the attacks came on Shannon. Those who couldn’t believe a Philly cop would say such comments implied Shannon, just a student journalist, likely fictionalized or at least embellished her quotes.

For those who don’t know the thorough and scrupulous scribe, who serves as her college newspaper’s managing editor, while also maintaining a full-time course load, freelancing for the Wilmington News-Journal and copy-editing for the Fishtown Spirit community newspaper, and has also written for Philadelphia Style, I can understand the indictment.

In time though, the dominant conversation on even the anonymous and often ugly DomeLights forum became what the hell was Thrasher — and his supervising officers — thinking, sending a young cop with a journalist.

Of course, I think the point is that no one saw Shannon as a journalist. She was a kid. To Thrasher, she was likely a kid who also lived in Northeast Philadelphia – the city’s bastion of middle-class whites, chock full of cops and firefighters.

Thrasher said some messed up stuff — there’s no questioning that — but he didn’t say anything beyond what most fear is part of white culture in a big city police department. If he gets canned, it’ll likely be part of a sham attempt by the force to suggest they’ve cleaned up their act.

It’s something a lot darker and bigger than firing 24-year-old Thrasher could solve. Instead, I truly hope Thrasher learns from the experience and gets to return to doing good things on the streets of Strawberry Mansion.  He may deserve all the negative attention he’s getting now, but unless it’s part of a bigger house-cleaning, I don’t think he needs to get tossed on the street. I doubt Shannon, for what it’s worth, thinks he should either. But it doesn’t matter what she thinks. She’s just supposed to write it all down.

And that’s what got her in so much trouble. The media was looking for something like this, as stories of racism and prejudice in Philly’s police ranks have persisted for decades. Shannon became an unwitting face of a movement of which she didn’t want to be a part.

She appeared on Fox29 and, for fear of being criticized for over-exposure, turned down the others, though she ended up on the Web site of one. The Inquirer’s Kia Gregory wrote a story, and she was the feature of a Michael Smerconish column – that followed getting about an hour of attention between his morning and afternoon nationally-syndicated radio shows. Alternative-weekly CityPaper joined the fray. She was written up on Attytood, twice on Philebrity, on the McJawn magazine Web site and on the CityPaper staff blog. They felt it necessary to address the issue in the college newspaper she manages, and that moved to a Temple student-news blog and a Temple journalism class blog. I couldn’t find a link for the Radio Times piece I was told aired on WHYY. That was all capped off by getting the rundown by Inqy columnist Annette John-Hall, who focused more on Shannon being a budding journalist in an age not so kind to them. I think probably among the more accurate, honest and thorough assessments came from a syndicated columnist.

Whether this is the end of police ride-alongs in Philadelphia, I can’t be sure. I did expect a subtle police publicity blitz and, it has already begun.

NBC10, who is getting battered in the city’s ratings, ran a cakewalk piece on April 10, covering new walking beats promoted by the city’s force. Where did the story take place? The 22nd district of course, the same district that was under fire for Thrasher’s comments two weeks earlier. That NBC10 reporter Kristin Walker didn’t make mention of a firestorm that happened in the same district so recently shows a level of unprofessionalism and lack of journalistic integrity that frightens me.

So the police will likely let us forget about it, which has happened before. Shannon’s 15 minutes is all but done, something I suspect she relishes. Still, I think it’s a shame so little was made of the hateful blow back that came Shannon’s way.

The least of it called her naive for writing the story, quoting an officer saying ugly things about the neighborhood he patrols would put him in danger. Of course, as anyone in the industry knows, that’s not quite how it works.

If he felt the need to say something like that but knew the ramifications, a simple “leave this off the record,” would have done fine. Fourteen hundred people have joined a Facebook group supporting Thrasher, and that’s just fine, but I can’t help but find myself a little confounded when folks leave mean spirited comments like the following:

Karma is a bitch. One day she’ll need the police and hopefully they won’t be there to help her.”

That was left by a Tom Thrasher, though I’m not sure of the relation. She received e-mails that were threatening, lewd and argumentative. I won’t even get near to the ugliest attacks of all. She was accused of injecting race into the conversation, though Shannon maintains never doing anything more than writing a story with real quotes from a real person. Nevertheless, the attacks persist.

Of course, that’s just what’s so disconcerting about all of this — that the response from some in the police community is to criticize, condemn or otherwise attack a student journalist, rather than explore just what kind of culture is festering in our city’s police departments.

If that can’t be seen as unhealthy, we have a much larger problem.

Now, of course, this is a gosh darn wet dream for just about any self-respecting young journalist — hell, for any journalist. Well, not exactly for Shannon.

She’s growing an online community news portal for her native Northeast Philadelphia, held at NEastPhilly.com. Her Q&A post on fellow NEaster Arthur Kade got links from the likes of Philebrity and Gawker. Next month, she’s hosting a panel discussion of city controller candidates.

It would be a troubling time for white, cop-supporting Northeast natives to refuse to patronize what is already the best source of Northeast news online. Particularly for so little. A young, native Northeast Philadelphia reporter doing nothing more than writing down what someone said and reporting it.

So you might understand why she’d be frustrated by a discussion board entitled “Boycott NEastPhilly.com.”

She didn’t sound the bell. She didn’t call for Thrasher’s head. She quietly and responsibly filled her story. We are in a bad place if that becomes something to criticize.

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  • matty

    nice summary of the whole situation. hope you and shannon and doing well on the other side of all this

  • matty

    *are

  • http://www.christopherwink.com Christopher Wink

    Thanks. I hope a lot more learning can come than I suspect actually will.
    -cgw

  • SickOfTheBs

    I have Yet to see Anything brought up from officer Thrashers records.. Did he treat all the people of this neighborhood with dignity and respect or were their complaints against him to back up these so called Comments.such as Police brutality, ABUSE… making racist comments to the people he dealt with on a daily basis.NOOOOOOOO..He has been deemed GUILTY AND FIRED BECAUSE HE SPOKE HIS MIND.WITHOUT EVER BEING GIVEN A CHANCE TO EXPLAIN HIMSELF..IS SPEAKING YOUR THOUGHTS NOW A CRIME IN PHILADELPHIA?BECAUSE IF IT IS, THEY HAVE ALOT MORE PEOPLE TO GET RID OF.. HE DID NOTHING MORE THEN SPEAK THE TRUTH ABOUT THE ” ANIMALS” { CRIMINAL ELEMENT} Of that neighborhood..and All nieghborhoods have animals, thugs, drug dealers, etc etc.The difference is if this had happened in neighborhood that is riddened with crime.iF he wasn’t doing his job THEY WOULD BE SCREAMING THE SAME THING.. THE COPS DON’T DO THIS OR THAT BECAUSE WE ARE AN AFRICAN AMERICAN NEIGHBORHOOD…THEY CAN’T WIN! I never seen anything that said he had previous history unbecoming to an officer..This article was nothing more then a chance For Miss mcdonald to get her 15 min of fame.. and she accomplished that..BUT WE ALSO LOST A GOOD PHILA POLICE OFFICER ALONG WITH 4 OTHERS for Nothing More then WORDS..Explain why Nothing was done to the Off duty cop that attacked two Uniformed on duty Officers? IS THAT BECAUSE HE’S AFRICAN AMERICAN? OMG THATS RACISM.. AND MORE THEN SPOKEN WORDS.. EXPLAIN THE COMMENT THAT WAS SAID AT A FUNERAL OF ONE OF OUR FALLEN OFFICERS BY A THE SGT.THAT MADE A RACIAL COMMENT ABOUT ANOTHER DEAD WHITE COP..HOW COME THERE WAS NO PUNISHMENT FOR THEM? IS THIS RACISM? YOU BET YOUR BUNS IT IS.. REVERSE RACISM! ONLY THATS NOT TALKED ABOUT IN THIS CITY..tHE SUPERVISOR IN CHARGE THAT NIGHT SHOULD HAVE NEVER GRANTED A RIDE ALONG WITH A ROOKIE COP. again if SPEAKING YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE CRIMINAL ELEMENT OF THIS CITY IS A CRIME.. BETTER GET LOTS OF HANDCUFFS BECAUSE THERES TONS OF US THAT THINK AND FEEL THAT WAY.

  • http://www.christopherwink.com Christopher Wink

    SickoftheBS:
    I do believe that firing Officer Thrasher was more PR move for the police than much of anything else, and I’m concerned there again won’t be real action to find the root of the problem, which isn’t Officer Thrasher. I’d like to have seen a different solution, too.

    That said, your attacks on Ms. McDonald are baseless and unfair. She has done nothing wrong. She wrote down what someone said and filed it without any promotion a month before big media found it. She deserves no place in your tirade.

    I also find it insulting as a Philadelphia resident and frightening as person that there is such unwavering defense of the inappropriate actions from cops. There are great cops in this city, and they should be regarded as heroes. Defending the rest without question is to demean the good work others do.
    -cgw

  • SickOfTheBs

    The Police in this city are HEROs.. and in no way am I demeaning any officer. But if we want to talk about Cops that have abused their powers and COMMITTED REAL CRIMES.. THEN LETS TALK.. OFFICER tHRASHER DIDN’T COMMIT ANY CRIME.. and no where was it said what” SHANNON” HAD TO SAY in response to any of these comments.. was she asking questions to officer Thrasher? was she making comments as SHE WAS TAKING HIS NOTES.. I only wish there had been a recording of all that was in that patrol car.. all I am saying is this cop was tried, judged and fired before any investigation went on.. after reading so many articles on this by numerous people inclding “BILAL” AND OTHER higer ups..i would like to see the ansers to why these other police officials that made a very racist comments IN FRONT OF OTHER COPS, incldung the funeral of one of our fallen officers , WHY WAS NOTHING EVEN MENTIONED ABOUT THAT.. I do believe one was transferred.. The dismissal of this cop was not needed.. and the fact remains HE WAS SPEAKING ABOUT THE CRIMINAL ELEMENT AND NOT THE ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOOD..and Miss mcdonald put her slant on it and twisted it one way.. ARE YOU AWARE THAT Officer THRASHER ALSO had a trunkful of stuffed animals to give out to children of this neighborhood.. that he took his time to show comfort to these young children when he was called upon to a crime at their home.. ..are you aware that he was trying to start programns for children in this neighborhood..so THEY WOULDNT GET CAUGHT UP WITH THE CRIMINALS, ANIMALS ,LOWLIFE THUGS THAT PREY UPON THE YOUNG THERE? BECAUSE IF mISS MCDONALD WAS AWARE OF THIS SHE FORGOT TO MENTION IT.. SHE MADE THIS ARTICLE OUT TO BE NOTHING MORE THEN THIS OFFICER BASHING EVERYONE IN THIS AREA.. SO NOT TRUE.. IF YOU CAN FIND ANYONE THAT ISN’T ALREADY JUDGING HIM BECAUSE OF HER STATEMENTS.. PLEASE GO ASK THEM..I know there are many people that he served in that neighborhood that were very grateful and happy with Officer Thrashers duties.. we are only hearing from one side.. MISS MCDONALD’S. because she never bothered to doa follow up.. she never inquired to see if he had a history or even substanial eveidence to support this so called behavior she claims he ” SPOKE ABOUT” NOT SHOWED..SPOKE ABOUT.. like I said there are 2 sides to everything.. and Unfortunately we only heard her side. IF ANYTHING maybe he should have been made to take a sensitivity training course.. WE HAVE MANY MANY COPS, HIGHER UPS THAT HAVE NOT EVEN RECIEVED A SLAP ON THE WRIST FOR THINGS THEY HAVE SAID AND DONE LET ALONE THEIR CRIMINAL ACTIONS ..BUT THIS WAS NOT A CRIME AND YET HE WAS PUNISHED AS IT WAS.. { SHAKING HEAD} IT WORKS BOTH WAYS AND I AM TIRED OF ONLY HEARING ABOUT ONE SIDED RACISM.. PERIOD.LIKE I SAID BEFORE.. WE AND MANY OTHERS ARE BOYCOTTING DAILY NEWS AND THE NORTHEAST TIMES.. and I DO UNDERSTAND SOME PEOPLE SAY THE NORTHEAST TIMES IS FREE..WELL NOT IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD.I GUESS THATS THE CLASS RACISM THAT IS NOW GOING ON THIS CITY.. Bottom line.. I do not think any corrupt officer, sgt, mayor etc. should be working for Philadelphia but THIS WAS ONE BAD CALL and the same for the cops involved in the school incident.. I am tired of hearing the “N” WORD IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD BY young black males and females..BUT GOD FORBID YOU SAY IT.. THEN ITS RACIAL SLUR.. AND I AM ALSO TIRED OF HEARING THESE VERY SAME PEOPLE CALLING MANY NEIGHBORS THAT HAVE BEEN HERE 30-50 YEARS TO ” SHUT UP YOU WHITE BIOTCH! NOW YOU TELL ME IS THAT A RACIAL REMARK? THEN WHY WHEN THE POLICE ARE CALLED ARE THEIR HANDS TIED.. OUR COPS IN THIS CITY NEED TO BE BACKED UP 100% AND THE LAWS NEED TO CHANGE IF WE ARE GOING TO GET A HANDLE ON THESE *(&%^(*&(*) ‘ ANIMALS THAT ARE SET FREE TO KEEP REPEATING THEIR CRIMES.. OOH I FORGOT.. THEY HAVE RIGHTS.. MORE THEN ANY LAW ABIDING CITIZEN OF THIS CITY.

  • http://www.christopherwink.com Christopher Wink

    SickOfTheBS:
    I choose to not respond to the end of this last comment, but I do think you are hitting on some real points in the beginning.

    I think it’s unfair to say Ms. McDonald slanted the piece much at all. I will ABSOLUTELY agree with you that I think most other media cherry-picked Officer Thrasher’s comments and suggested he was calling all blacks in his district those ugly words.

    HOWEVER, I think Ms. McDonald’s story gives a better sense that Officer Thrasher was speaking about a specific troubled element in that neighborhood, not the neighborhood as whole.

    So, yes, I agree with you that media unsurprisingly was a bit unfair to the cop, but I don’t think Ms. McDonald deserves the blame for doing what she did.

    I would also hope we can agree that, gosh, those still aren’t things you should say to someone who is writing down what you’re saying. Let’s not forget that Thrasher did make a mistake and say some stupid stuff. He is not blameless.
    -cgw

  • areyouserious??

    “Let’s not forget that Thrasher did make a mistake and say some stupid stuff. He is not blameless.”

    I’m sorry but where exactly is your proof that Officer Thrasher said any of this?? In her notes?? Oh that’s right, I forgot, you can’t make stuff up as you right it down, or go back and doctor it afterward for that matter… Fact of the matter is, he wasn’t recorded and she has no actual proof that any of those statements were ever made. It’s her word against his… yet for some reason we live in a society where the public holds the word of a college journalist with no credentials in higher esteem than an officer of the law…

  • http://www.christopherwink.com Christopher Wink

    areyouserious:
    I’m not sure what credentials you say she doesn’t have. She has reported for professional organizations and, while young, is respected. I am a professional journalist and consider her a friend. I’ve seen her work and also know she has no interest in the attention and never had any reason to believe making up such accusations would have gotten her any attention anyway.

    It’s puzzling that this is the conversation we’re having and not what can be done to create better understanding and foster better relationships. This happened. That’s a reality you have to come to accept.
    -cgw

  • areyouserious??

    In my opinion, she’s still just a college student. A college student who deceived an officer and somehow neglected to mention that she would be writing an article. A college student who’s first article about this ride-along barely even mentioned Officer Thrasher, but painted the very same picture about the area in general. So forgive me if I feel as though she has no credentials and has fabricated the story, but in my opinion, there’s no other reason for the extreme difference in the two stories except for the fact that she didn’t get enough attention out of the first one and wanted to make sure that didn’t happen the second time around.

    And once again I’m sorry but you have NO proof that this happened, so there’s nothing there for me to accept. She had to have known when she wrote this article and decided to talk to the media that she could be ruining this man’s life, and for what?? A better job? 15 minutes of fame?… How does she even live with herself?? If i were her I would feel so guilty. I really hope she’s heading to confession sometime in the near future for this one… And as a self respecting journalist, how are you seriously defending this girl?? Friend of yours or not, she shouldn’t be disrespecting the officers that serve and protect her everyday by publicly slandering them!! Have a little bit of respect for the people who risk their lives everyday to save yours…

  • http://www.christopherwink.com Christopher Wink

    AYS:
    I can’t see how she deceived him. This was a student journalist on a ride along with a police officer for a journalism class with a notepad in hand, as she told me. If someone says something, without choosing to go off the record, it’s active for a story. Those have been the rules for generations.

    I can’t speak for her wishes, but I doubt she had any interest in the officer being fired. I think most people see that this is a far broader problem in the police force — between blacks, whites and everyone in between. Thrasher was caught up in a high-profile situation that was not McDonald’s fault. She didn’t ask for it. As I mentioned in this post, she actually turned down far more requests for interviews than she accepted.

    So let’s leave it at this.

    I know this young journalist didn’t make up these quotes — there’s no reason to do so for a little school project. You think she did, and I won’t change your mind on that.

    We all have respect for the dangerous work police officers do, but that doesn’t change what this officer said was crummy. And dumb to do with someone writing down what he was saying.

    I hope both of them can learn from this experience, but I will not stand for anyone saying the young journalist did anything wrong.
    -cgw

  • areyouserious??

    Good because I won’t stand for anyone saying that this young Police Officer did anything wrong… so I guess we’re on the same page there.

    She knew what she was doing… I hope she’s proud of herself because I personally don’t know how she can sleep at night.

    This isn’t bringing light to a larger problem, it’s proving what shit this world has come to. Obviously I won’t change your mind, but I hope you realize that this is why the general public views all journalists as dirty scumbags who will do anything for a story… Makes me glad I never chose journalism as a major!!

  • http://www.christopherwink.com Christopher Wink

    That’s a shame. I think good police officers and good journalists defend our democracy in surprisingly similar and equally important ways.

    Ah, I hope you realize this is why some people are fearful and threatened of or angry at police officers and their culture that won’t accept that sometimes someone on a force of 5,000 does something stupid, ugly, cruel or unjust. Makes me sad for all the good cops doing good work.
    -cgw

  • me

    I believe she’s a moron who probably hit on the cop and he rejected her…so she got back the only way she could…she sucks

  • http://www.christopherwink.com Christopher Wink

    Your sexism is enlightening to your worldview.
    -cgw

  • TooMuchPolitics

    CGW:
    “I think it’s unfair to say Ms. McDonald slanted the piece much at all”

    If you beleive what you say about Miss McDonald not slanting the piece, why then did she feel the need to make it a point to mention Officer Thrasher’s blonde hair and blue eyes? If a black officer ALLEGEDLY made those statements would she have reported that the officer were black? I doubt it.
    Also has any one else wondered why Miss McDonald failed to identify the leiutentant’s name in this article? Because if what she reported was true she missed the big story! Any good reporter knows that it’s bigger news to take down a leiutenant over a rookie cop. The fact that she failed to identify the Lt. makes me question the accuracy of her story. Maybe she should look into a career as a fiction writer.
    Oh and for anyone out there who is wondering where Miss McDonald got her cop bashing attitude from you should google “Linn Washington” he is one of her editors and a professor at Temple.

  • DisgustedInPhilly

    “Christopher Wink”

    “Ah, I hope you realize this is why some people are fearful and threatened of or angry at police officers and their culture that won’t accept that sometimes someone on a force of 5,000 does something stupid, ugly, cruel or unjust. Makes me sad for all the good cops doing good work.”

    See THIS IS WHERE YOU MR WINK BECOME LIKE THE REST OF THE PEOPLE THAT ASSUME.. You are assuming that Officer THASHER ISN’T A GOOD COP?? MAYBE DO YOUR HOMEWORK CHRIS AND GO READ SOME OF THE MATERIAL THAT HAS ALREADY PROVEN HE IS AN EXCELLENT COP.. MAYBE THIS IS WHY SO MANY PEOPLE ARE UP IN ARMS.. THIS IS NOT A CASE WHERE YOU GOT A BAD COP OFF THE STREET..THIS IS A CASE WHERE YOU HAD AN EXCELLENT OFFICER , ASSET TO THE COMMUNITY, SOMEONE WHO HAS REACHED OUT TO THE COMMUNITY AND MADE A MISTAKE IN SAYING SOMETHING HE SHOULDN’T HAVE.. ALTHO I DISGAREE..IF WE CANT SPEAK ABOUT THE CRIMINAL ELEMENTS IN THIS CITY “BECAUSE” THEY ARE A MINORITY THEN THIS CITY HAS ACCOMPLISHED NOTHING IN ITS TRYING TO HEAL FROM THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL AND DEMISE OF THESE SO CALLED ANIMALS.. AND LET ME SAY BY “ANIMALS” I MEAN
    ” ANY” PERSON THAT PREYS ON INNOCENT PEOPLE NO MATTER WHAT COLOR, RACE, GENDER BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO REGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE.. AND NOW ALONG COMES ” LIL MISS POLLY” AND ALL THIS OFFICERS HARD WORK AND DREAMS ARE SQUASHED.. BECAUSE OF SOMETHING HE SAID..A MISTAKE I AM SURE HE REGRETS..BUT BECAUSE OF WORDS.. FREAKING WORDS.. THIS IS WHY THIS CITY IS THE WAY IT IS..PEOPLE KILLING PEOPLE OVER WORDS..JUDGING PEOPLE OVER WORDS?? THIS CASE IS ONE THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN INVESTIGATED JUST TO SEE IF THIS COP HAD SOMETHING IN HIS BACKGROUND TO BACK UP THESE SO CALLED ACCUSATIONS.. I AM CURIOUS..WHAT ABOUT THE SGT..OR LT..WHAT EVER SHE WAS THAT SPOKE PUBLICLY AT ONE OF OUR DEAD OFFICERS FUNERAL’S..SAID THEY DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO “SUPPORT SOME DEAD CRACKERS KID??” ARE YOU SERIOUSSSSSSSS? WHY ARE YOU NOT DOING A STORY ON THIS IF WE ARE TALKING ABOUT RACIAL TENSIONS.. THE OFFICER THAT SAID THAT WASN’T EVEN PUNISHED..LET ALONE FIRED..THIS IS WHAT KEEPS RACIAL TENSIONS BURNING IN THIS CITY., WHAT ABOUT THE COP THAT ASSAULTED TWO UNIFORMED COPS, SENT THEM TO THE HOSPITAL AND WAS NOT PUNISHED..IS THIS BECAUSE HE IS AFRICAN AMERICAN? DOES HE HAVE SPECIAL RIGHTS THAT OTHER OFFICERS DO NOT HAVE.. WHETHER IT BE RACE, GENDER HMMMMMMM YES MR.WINKY THIS IS WHAT KEEPS THE TENSIONS BURNING HERE IN PHILADELPHIA AND THE FACT THAT ONLY CERTAIN NEWS PAPERS, NEWS STATIONS KEEP THIS FRONT AND CENTER AND SWEEP OTHER RACIAL INCIDENTS UNDER THE RUG.. WHATS GOOD FOR ONE IS GOOD FOR ALL.. THERE WAS NO CRIME COMMITTED HERE.. THE ONLY CRIME COMMITTED WAS ONCE AGAIN THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA ASSIGNING PUNISHMENT TO A SELECT GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT HAPPEN TO BE WHITE! WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE IS MAKING THIS OFFICER TAKE A COURSE IN CULTERAL SENSITIVITY.. AND KEEPING A GOOD COP ON THE FORCE.. AND LETTING THE ONES THAT ABUSED THEIR POWERS SUCH AS COPS THAT STOLE FROM DRUG DEALERS, STORE OWNERS ETC ETC FACE THE COURT SYSTEM. IN MY EYES AND MANY OTHERS mISS MCDONALD IS NOTHING MORE THEN A MUMIA SUPPORTER, LINN WASHINGTON AND BIGMOUTH BILAL..ALL THESE PEOPLE INTENT ON KEEPING RACISM GOING IN PHILADELPHIA.. THINK ITS TIME SOMEONE DID A STORY ON ” WHY WE DO NOT HAVE A NATIONAL WHITE ORGANIZATION TO SUPPORT US” WHY IS IT IF WE HAD A WHITE COLLEGE..WHITE MISS AMERICAN, WHITE THIS OR THAT WE WOULD BE CONSIDERED RACIST. ITS TIME FOR WHITE PEOPLE TO TAKE A STAND AND GAIN BACK OUR RIGHTS.. AND BY THAT I DO NOT MEAN KEEPING RACISM ALIVE.. i DO NOT EVER WANT TO GO BACK TO THE 50’S-60’S I JUST WANT TO SEE FAIR AND EQUAL RIGHTS FOR EVERYONE!

  • Donna

    Who pulled the story to be published? Let’s see…Temple University, an editor of mural, April 6…what are the odds? Hey maybe Shannon can go down to the mathematics department and have someone figure that out! Do you two really believe that this was because she discovered some big shocking story? I know you are young but you can not be that naive? I think more people were shocked at the fact that she threw him under the bus (so to speak), than by what he said. You speak of an “unprofessional ism and lack of journalistic integrity” from an NBC reporter, but fail to realize that Shannon’s article itself was just that. I’m sorry, but it’s hard to accept a simple “writing down what someone said and reporting it” as an excuse for destroying a man’s life. She played the blonde hair, blue eyed, racist card very well. But, hinting to the idea that “the stories of police brutality are easier to believe” just because he used the term “TNS” is scary. This isn’t tmz…this is real life. There’s more to the story. Going for the “shock” factor is just too predictable. She didn’t catch Kramer in a racist rant. What she witnessed was what many races do when they fear or do not understand their environment. Do you honestly believe TNS is never used among black cops? The racism and crime of these troubled districts is nothing new. The reporting practice of journalists/media hasn’t helped either. Stories like this, although a journalists “wet dream”, only add to the tension. No, cops are not above the law. However, this is an environment were both sides carry guns.

    Her reporting lacked a purpose. She failed to capture why, what can be done, and how we can change. Instead she laid the blame for police brutality on the shoulders of a white man who probably never hurt a soul. Everyday this man put his life on the line to protect the very people he is accused of hating.

    She attached a name and a face to a problem that goes way beyond the comments he made. It’s hard to believe that Shannon’s story wasn’t used as a media tool to draw attention to something different. (Again, consider my first line) Channel 10 pushed it; The Guardian Civic League ate it up, just what certain people wanted. In the end, Shannon and Bill are left to pick up the pieces. A man, a father, loses his reputation, his income, his health insurance. What happens if his daughter gets sick and needs to go to the emergency room? Do you honestly believe his punishment fit the crime? I find it funny that you are surprised that people would support him. People heard the N word and failed to recognize the context of the conversation. Did he once call someone that? I am sure TNS wasn’t a term he invented on his own. The rest of his comments sounded like descriptions of circumstances rather than hateful aggressions. What is even scarier is the moral pedestal some of you white temple journalists have put yourself on. Can you and Shannon honestly say you have never said or thought any thing racist? Oh, but its different right?

    I don’t agree with the cop’s conversation. Yes, it was stupid and ignorant. Does it make them racist cops who commit police brutality? No. If Shannon honestly believes that then I feel sorrow for her. If this was an attempt to make a change for the better, she could have easily written the same piece and left out his name. I forgot it wouldn’t have made the 5 o’clock news.

    I doubt any person she interviews now will be open and honest with her. I would expect more back lash from the northeast community. If she didn’t think that would happen then she really doesn’t understand the community and has no business writing on their behalf.

    A coworker and I were making small talk about the situation the other day. He’s black, I’m white. We have always been open and honest with each other about race issues often joking about certain stereotypes. I really think you two would be surprised with their views and assumptions of white people. Even more surprising is their views about certain people in their own race. The best part of the conversation Ill pass on to you and Shannon. “Only a white person would rat another white person out” : )

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