Last week Shaun King of the New York Daily News published an article about a Louisiana teen who’d been arrested for sexting his white girlfriend.
Levar Allen, who is black, was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor after he and his 16-year-old white girlfriend mutually exchanged nude videos. New information, however, revealed that the white girl was not only charged, but charged first.
Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington said Allen was charged as an adult since he’s 17.
According to a piece published in The Times-Picayune , King’s piece, which called the arrest of Allen a “bogus symptom of the mass criminalization of black folk in the New Jim Crow”, was irresponsible.
The folks at Picayune have accused King, and others who expressed outrage over Allen’s arrest, of being a part of an “outrage machine.” This is ridiculous.
The real outrage here should be directed at local affiliate KSLA for omitting facts from the story King used as a source.
[tweet_box]How Snarky Cop and Poor Local Reporting Led to Misinformation in Case of Black Teen Arrested for Texting Nude Video to White Girlfriend [/tweet_box]
“When he ran the story, he left those facts out,” Whittington said of KSLA’s reporting. “We’ve been slandered and slammed over something we handled by the book. If my people had handled it any differently, I would have fired them.”
KSLA has reporters on the ground, not Shaun King. KSLA had a responsibility not to omit that quote about the white teen’s arrest, not King.
And Bossier Sheriff’s Lt. Bill Davis, who was interviewed as part of the KSLA story, came off as particularly dismissive about whether race was a factor in Allen’s arrest, which gave even more oxygen to the story.
“I have nothing to say about that,” he told KSLA. “It doesn’t matter what your race, what your religion, what your ethnicity, don’t do child pornography. Plain and simple.”
This isn’t patiently answering the public’s questions. This is chest pounding bravado.
The bigger story here, however, is that kids shouldn’t be arrested for voluntarily sharing nude pictures. Being an adolescent shouldn’t be criminalized within our justice system. Maybe the good ‘ol Louisiana cops should fix that and stop playing the victim.