Waco Police Sergeant Patrick Swanton blasted CNN for putting as-yet unproven information out as verifiable fact. The news network posted a statement in an article earlier this week which asserted four of the nine people killed in Sunday’s shooting at Twin Peaks were killed by police officers.
“According to a law enforcement source, preliminary information indicates that four of the bikers killed were killed by police gunfire,” CNN wrote in their article.
Sgt. Swanton blasted the news netowrk during a Tuesday press conference, according to the Washington Post:
There was a media outlet that was reporting that law enforcement killed four of the individuals at this scene Sunday afternoon. I will tell you, whoever told you that, that person belongs on “CSI” because the autopsies have not been completed and it is impossible at this point to determine that fact. I will tell you, is it possible? Yes. Is it a fact? No. Not until the autopsies are complete and we get the final results. Will we tell you how many we shot and how many were possibly deceased by police rounds? Without a doubt we will. You will know that when we know that. The information that is out there right now — if you got lucky and guessed that number, congratulations. If you didn’t, shame on you for putting that information out there that may have been incorrect.
While he did not single out CNN by name, the Washington Post asks:
What “media outlet” is Swanton singling out here? CNN maybe? The 24-7 news outlet cited a “law enforcement source” as saying that “preliminary information indicates that four of the bikers killed were killed by police gunfire. The investigation continues and the ballistics will be analyzed to determine for certain who was responsible for each shooting.”
CNN host Ashleigh Banfield challenged Swanton on his rebuke. “I heard you earlier calling out the TV network, saying that four of those who were killed were killed by police gunfire and you were quite clear in suggesting those autopsies aren’t done yet and that that can’t be finalized detail,” said Banfield. “That’s preliminary information that actually a law enforcement source gave to CNN that four of these people — but I want to make sure. And by the way, we double-checked it. Once you finished your news conference, we went back to that law enforcement source and that source is standing by that prelim information suggesting that four of those people were killed possibly in a hail of police bullets.”
Swanton struck back at Banfield over her use of the word “possibly.”
“The first point that you made was that was a possibility,” Swanton responded. “There are lots of possibilities here. What it’s important that you understand is that’s not fact. What you’ll get from the source that’s releasing information, which is Waco police and Texas [Department of Public Safety], is fact. Is there a possibility that more were killed by police? Yes there is. Is there a possibility that less were killed by police? Yes there is. It’s not fact, and that’s what you’re going to get from us.”
The CNN article in question; however, does not use the word “possibly.” The network reported that a “law enforcement source” indicated “four of the bikers were killed by police gunfire.”
Breitbart Texas reported on Tuesday that CNN omitted key information about the shooting of an unarmed Mexican immigrant by a Grapevine, Texas, police officer. The network report left out the fact that the deceased was suspected of burglarizing a business, and that he was yelling “shoot me!” to the officer as he attempted to get close enough to the officer to attack him.