One Baltimore protester got to clear the air Monday night after a local Fox affiliate edited the chant she was leading to make it sound as if demonstrators were calling for the death of cops, Talking Points Memo reports.
WBFF apologized on Monday, inviting Tawanda Jones, the woman who was leading the chant at a Washington, D.C., protest, for a live interview to talk about the erroneous editing.
As TPM notes, Gawker originally caught the station editing the audio of the protest chant so that it sounded as if protesters were chanting “kill a cop.” The actual chant went, “We won’t stop, we can’t stop, till killer cops are in cell blocks.”
However, along with cutting the audio short, WBFF told its audience that the protesters were chanting, “We won’t stop, we can’t stop, so kill a cop.”
The station also issued a formal apology on its Facebook page. “We here at Fox45 work hard every day to earn your trust and bring you fair and comprehensive news from around the country. Although last night’s report reflected an honest misunderstanding of what the protesters were saying, we apologize for the error. We have deleted the story on our webpage and we offered to have Ms. Jones on Fox45 News at 5:00 tonight for a live interview,” the statement read in part.
While doing the live interview, Jones told the reporter that it was important for her to clear the air because she “cares about all people” and would never call for the murder of anyone.
Jones also took the opportunity to call out the station, asking how that mistake could possibly have been made. “The interesting part that really gets to me is where you guys edited it and stopped—like, how can that be a mistake? You stop right there, you don’t get … ‘until killer cops are in cell blocks’ until ‘cell blocks,’ so once you play that whole thing, you would know that’s not something being said,” Jones said. “We need good cops. … My community needs good cops. Nobody deserves to be brutally murdered.
“That’s why I never said all cops. I made sure I was strategic as to say killer cops belong in cell blocks, meaning that everybody should be held accountable for their actions,” she added.
Jones said that she was happy the station gave her the opportunity to set the record straight, but she also said she feared that the damage to her name and what she stands for had already been done. “At the end of the day, people’s lives are on the line,” she said. “Now, even though we’re doing this, I still don’t feel safe because I still feel like the message is out there.
“It’s sad to say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression,” she added. “I’ve never had my name tattered or torn on the media, ever. I don’t break the law, I live by the law. I’m a schoolteacher, I’m a mother and I fight for justice for the right cause. Right now my name is out there in a negative light, and I don’t know if that can ever be fixed.”
Toward the end of the interview, Jones started crying, saying that the station “murdered [her] all over again” by sullying her name.
“What if a crazed-out cop or a crazed-out supporter thinks I’m trying to get cops killed?” the devastated Jones said.
Read more at Talking Points Memo.