Disbelief as New York Times Publishes Details on Where Newlywed Ferguson Officer Lives
Melissa Quinn /
Angering fellow journalists and the public alike, The New York Times published details on the residence of Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Mo., police officer whom a grand jury declined to indict for the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
The newspaper posted an article Monday on Wilson’s marriage to a fellow Ferguson police officer, Barbara Spradling. Near the end, the article by reporters Julie Bosman and Campbell Robertson specified the street and city where the newlyweds reside.
“Officer Wilson and Officer Spradling own a home together on _______ in _________, Mo., a St. Louis suburb about a __-hour drive from Ferguson,” the article read.
The Daily Signal has removed the street, city and number of hours from the text.
Why would #nytimes @nytimes Reporters: Julie Bosman & Campell Robertson post D Wilson’s home address? To hurt him. pic.twitter.com/UYne2FTe1J
— Texas Aggie (@usmc130) November 26, 2014
When readers concerned for Wilson’s safety expressed outrage toward the Times’ decision to include the information, the newspaper issued a correction:
An earlier version of this post included a photograph that contained information that should not have been made public. The image has been removed.
>>> Is Ferguson Really About Race?
The unedited photo was of the couple’s marriage license.
“The story mentions only the name of the street where the couple have a house and that street has been widely reported on,” Eileen Murphy, the newspaper’s vice president of communications, said in a statement to The Washington Examiner. The Times referred The Daily Signal to the same statement.
Previous reports of the street name, from The Washington Post and CNN, occurred before the grand jury decided not to indict the six-year veteran.
The New York Times’ decision to publish Wilson’s address angered colleagues in the news media, which has a long tradition of shielding crime victims and those not charged with crimes from possible harm.
Longtime media critic Howard Kurtz, host of the Fox News show “MediaBuzz” and former media reporter at The Washington Post, called the move “reckless” and said the newspaper should apologize. Kurtz wrote:
Given the racial animosity unleashed by Brown’s death, given the rioting and the looting and the stores that were set afire, how can a news organization make it easier for some crazy zealot to track down Wilson?
Fox News host and commentator Sean Hannity also weighed in.
“If anything happens to that man, his family or that home, the culpability is with them,” Hannity said of Times editors.
Protests in Ferguson turned violent, including arson and looting, after the grand jury’s decision not to indict Wilson was announced Monday evening.
>>> 57 Raw Images of the Ferguson Protests Across the Nation