Benjamin Crump, the lawyer for the family of slain Ferguson, Mo., teen Michael Brown, blasted the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Friday for reporting “gossip and racist speculation,” according to CNN.
Crump accused the paper of failing to apply the same zeal to obtaining background information about Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot Brown, that it has applied in its pursuit of Brown’s juvenile records, the news site reports.
“In this new age, where there is a war being waged for clicks and eyeballs, it appears the Post-Dispatch has chosen to forgo its duty to report facts and provide meaningful context and has instead opted to pursue gossip and racist speculation,” Crump said in an open letter to the newspaper's editor, according to CNN. “This is deeply disappointing.”
There were no immediate responses to telephone messages and emails from CNN to the newspaper’s public relations office and editor Friday afternoon, the site says.
The letter comes after St. Louis County Family Court Judge Ellen Levy Siwak on Tuesday denied the newspaper’s request to obtain any juvenile court records related to Brown, the report says.
A juvenile court official later said that Brown, who was 18 when he died, had never been found delinquent on juvenile charges that would equate to the state’s most serious felonies and was not facing any such charges at the time of his death, the report says.
The Post-Dispatch then said Tuesday that the information “put to rest claims by a California-based blog and others that Brown was facing a murder charge at the time he was shot to death.”
Brown was fatally shot Aug. 9 in an encounter with Wilson that touched off protests in Ferguson and across social media about police brutality and racism in law enforcement. Wilson has not publicly given a statement, CNN points out, but police have said that Brown and Wilson struggled for the officer’s gun. Two construction workers who witnessed the shooting have said that Brown’s hands were held in the air when Wilson fired the final shots.
Read more at CNN.