One of the largest sheriff’s departments in Texas has called out a local TV station over what they label an unethical story over a domestic disturbance that escalated into a fatal shooting. Two sheriff’s deputies have since received death threats.
The Southwest Texas Fusion Center, an intelligence-gathering center used by law enforcement, issued an alert to area officers warning them to remain vigilant. “The caller said if the deputies were not arrested, there’s going to be more violence towards law enforcement,” the alert revealed.
The threats came after San Antonio’s KSAT 12 TV station published a video of the moment where two deputies shot 41-year-old Gilbert Flores following a brief standoff outside of his house. Police had responded to a call for service where the man had allegedly assaulted his wife with a knife and then threatened to harm a young boy.
In their story, the San Antonio station hailed their exclusive rights to the video and even placed a watermark on the footage that shows the tragic end to the domestic disturbance call. In their headline, the station further identified the two deputies involved in the shooting.
The video, which was taken from about a block away, shows the moment when Flores raises his hands. However, one hand is blocked by a light pole making it difficult to tell if the man was armed at the moment of the shooting.
What KSAT did not mention in that particular story but one of their reporters tweeted was that they had paid $100 to the eyewitness who shot the video in exchange for the exclusive rights to the footage.
The release of the footage ahead of a completed investigation resulted in the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office calling out the TV station and even posting their message on social media:
Today, members of our local media chose to broadcast online unedited video of a man’s death. KSAT 12 paid a neighbor who filmed the tragedy $100 for the exclusive rights to the video. As a result people from outside our community have bombarded us with inappropriate comments and today, physical threats towards out deputies. These deputies have not been charged with a crime and a family lost a loved one. This is unethical and sad. Call KSAT and let them know what you think – (210) 351-1277. If you agree, let the local media know this sort of sensational behavior doesn’t fly in Bexar County.
In the wake of the shooting, the county government has moved to purchase body cameras while authorities continue to investigate. Authorities have since revealed that there is a second video that was taken from a closer distance. That video has not yet been released as the investigation remains ongoing. The FBI office in San Antonio is monitoring the developments of the case, the agency confirmed.
The move by KSAT appears to mimic the actions of mainstream media outlets following the 2014 self-defense shooting of Michael Brown by then police officer Darren Wilson. In that case, the media began airing multiple stories that painted law enforcement in a negative light even though Wilson was eventually cleared by a state and a federal investigation.
KSAT’s release of the video comes just days after as Breitbart Texas reported that racial tensions appear to have led to the execution of Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Goforth.