Many, including news organizations around the country, are assuming and making judgments based on information they do not have. That’s a shame, it makes us look bad.
We did not cover up anything. We bend over backwards to treat ourselves the same way we would treat any other member of the community. In fact, we go overboard at times to make sure there is no perception that we have treated ourselves favorably because of our position.
Did we go too far here in holding to this standard? I don’t know, I will always ask myself that question. But we made our decision based on the facts we had. That’s all we can do. As journalists, we report facts, not assumptions.
The story notes specifically that if people who were not employees of the paper were attacked in a similar way, based on the “simple assault” police report, the paper would not have covered it. The reporters, Dave Forster and Marjon Rostami, each missed a week of work following the incident, which Michelle Washington’s column hinted may have had at least perceived racial overtones. (Denis Finley, the editor, makes it clear that they don’t know for sure, and that was merely speculation captured on Twitter.) The reporters initially did not want to go public with what happened, at least initially.