Friday, April 17, 2015

Home Invasion Suspect Dies, Media Does Hatchet Job on Hagerstown Police

HAGERSTOWN, MD - The following is the official press release from Hagerstown Police Department regarding a home invasion suspect who died while being transported to Meritus Medical Center.

On April 16 at 10:32 PM a call for a disturbance came in to the 911 center from the 400 block of North Prospect where a female could be heard screaming in the background. A second caller reported a male broke into her house. The caller described the suspect as a black male wearing jeans and a shirt and was currently in front of the house stumbling around.The first two responding officers found the male suspect in front of the house in an aggressive stance and appeared to be highly agitated. Two additional officers and a supervisor arrived on the scene shortly afterward. The officers believed the suspect was under the influence of drugs and requested an ambulance to respond to the scene as well.
While waiting on the ambulance, the suspect refused to comply with the officers and remained aggressive. During the arrest, the suspect was tased by the police and placed in handcuffs. The suspect was conscious and remained uncooperative when he was placed in the ambulance for transport to Meritus Medical Center. As some point, the suspect suffered an unknown medical emergency and was later pronounced dead by Meritus medical staff at 12:11 AM on the 17th of April.
The identification of the male has not yet been confirmed.
The department has requested the Washington County Sheriff’s Department conduct the death investigation.

The department will be available for comment at 10:00 a.m. at police headquarters, located at 50 N. Burhans Blvd, Hagerstown, MD 21740 and by calling 301-790-3700.
This press release tells a much different story than the sensationalist headlines used by multiple media outlets to describe the incident.

Screenshot of Google News

Not only do media outlets fail to mention in their headlines that this person is suspected of breaking into someone's house, but they also try to make it sound like the stun gun was the cause of death.

However... "The suspect was conscious and remained uncooperative when he was placed in the ambulance for transport to Meritus Medical Center."  You read that right - after they tased him, he was still alive.

Could it be that he had some other medical emergency, possibly due to the fact that he may have been "under the influence of drugs"? That is after all the reason they called the ambulance in the first place.

Herald Mail, Baltimore Sun, and every other media outlet using this misleading headline and not telling the whole story - shame on you. As members of the press, it's your job to provide news in an unbiased manner. A hatchet job like this against our law enforcement officers, who put their lives on the line every day, is completely unacceptable.

Here's a better headline for those news sites which wish to report fairly.

"Home Invasion Suspect Dies on Way to Hospital"

Ken Buckler is the editor of the WashCo Chronicle