County Sheriff Threatens to Go to FCC Over the Way a Phoenix TV Station is Airing Footage of a Fatal Police Shooting

spot the "furtive movement"YouTubeManuel Longoria was fatally shot by Pinal County, Arizona sheriff’s deputies at the end of a police chase last month. Cellphone video of the incident appears to show cops shooting at Longoria while he’s facing them with his hands on his side, and then continue to shoot after he manages to get his hands in the air. The video and the story, both compelling, was picked up by local TV stations. Now, the county sheriff’s office is upset with the way the Phoenix CBS affiliate edited the video for air. Media Bistro reports

In emails obtained by TVSpy between Pinal County Sheriff’s pubic information officer Tim Gaffney and KPHO reporter Morgan Loew about the CBS affiliate’s coverage that began airing January 22, Gaffney tells Loew, “the fact you freeze the video at the exact split second the suspect raises his hands and then delay the sound of the shots being fired, is both unethical and completely misleading.”

Loew tells Gaffney, “It does seem that you are going out of your way to clear your deputy in the shooting before the homicide investigation is complete. “

“You have done at least 3 stories now on the deputy involved shooting which occurred on January 14th, 2014,” Gaffney writes in another email exchange on February 12. “I have asked for two corrections already related to the stories and you have agreed and updated the stories after they have already aired for your viewers. Last night you once again did another critical story. The issue I have with the story last night is you continue to alter the cell phone video. Instead of playing it at normal speed so your viewers can see things as they actually occurred, you freeze the video the moment the suspect throws his hands in the air and then you delay with the sounds of the shots being fired.”

Loew replies, “[I]t isn’t our intent to make it seem like the amount of time the officers had to decide whether to shoot lasted longer than it actually did.”

Media Bistro explains that the TV station appears to lengthen the time before the shots by under a second.  Gaffney also said he sent a letter to the CEO of the parent company of the TV station, Meredith Corporation. If that doesn’t work, he tells Media Bistro his “next step is to file a complaint with the FCC against their broadcasting license.”

You can’t say he’s not trying to earn his pay, but you can say Tim Gaffney doesn’t seem to know how the First Amendment works.

Cellphone video, which appears uncut, below:

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I thought the FCC's attitude is the First Amendment doesn't apply to television because it is licensed by FedGov.

  • Agammamon||

    Manuel Longoria was fatally shot by Pimal County, Arizona sheriff’s deputies at the end of a police chase a month

    Its *Pinal* county and you're sentence ends incorrectly.

  • Almanian!||

    Donut com to Reaason for speeling of grammer. Yule be disppoint.

  • ||

    you're sentence

    Whose law is this again? joe'z law?

  • Sevo||

    Are we they're yet?

  • Agammamon||

    Hey, none of *my* subscribers are paying for an editor.

  • Archie Bunker||

    Well, I agree. Reason.com defiantly needs a good copy editur.

  • Paul.||

    I think he's confusing it with Pima county.

  • Agammamon||

    Hmm, the blurry video making it look like he has his right arm hidden behind him, so I can understand (sort of) the guns coming out (if that's actually the case.

    But otherwise the guy presents absolutely no threat, at all. Even if he *had* a gun in that hand, he wasn't in a position to fire it.

    This looks like another case of straight up murder by police simply because they didn't want to spend the time to deal with the guy.

  • Agammamon||

    An extra problem for exonerating the deputy - even if he popped one or two off when the stood up after reaching into the car because he thought he saw a gun, there's no reason to keep firing once the guy put both hands up in the air and it was obvious they were empty.

  • Paul.||

    But otherwise the guy presents absolutely no threat, at all. Even if he *had* a gun in that hand, he wasn't in a position to fire it.

    If you actually have a gun, it takes a milisecond to raise it and fire it. I'm not critical of cops who fire at someone when they're holding a gun and they twitch or make a furtive movement.

    Of course when they don't have a gun but the cops thought they did, or claim to have thought they did... then it gets tricky.

    I'm on the fence with this case.

  • Agammamon||

    I am - it take more than a millisecond to raise it, aim it, and fire it. And when you've *already* got the drop there's absolutely no excuse to fire on a guy who isn't even looking in your direction.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    He turned around like 0.5 seconds before the shots, after facing them and refusing to surrender for 35 seconds.

  • Yegg Central||

    The deputy involved, Heath Rankin, has more than a small history when it comes to being overzealous.

  • ||

    By the way, is your handle a Miller's Crossing reference? If so, I highly approve.

    "You are so goddamn smart. Except you ain't. I get you, smart guy. I know what you are. Straight as a corkscrew. Mr. Inside-Outski, like some goddamn Bolshevik picking up his orders from Yegg Central."

  • Yegg Central||

    Indeed it is. With a beer or two, I'd be ready to argue that Miller's Crossing is a strong contender for best movie of the 90s.

  • ||

    I'll argue that without any beers. That movie is fantastic. It has so much going on that it requires many viewings just to get it all. Ironically, the first time I ever saw it (right after it came out) I was so stoned that I barely remembered it. And I still liked it.

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    The scene with the guy avoiding the mob hit and returning fire with the machine gun with the drum mag is the most memorable to me. The way the barrel was smoking afterward gave it a sense of reality.

    ... Hobbit

  • Paul.||

    Do I lose my libertarian card if I agree that regardless of the outcomes (and not agreeing with using the FCC as a blunt-force instruent) here, the television station shouldn't be editing the video to emphasize particular moments in the video? I think we'd be upset if the reverse happened, where the police dept. sped up portions of a video to shorten the time between actions.

    I mean, considering we have boatloads of unedited cop videos which are damning without alteration...

  • Agammamon||

    Yes.

    Now if you were talking about changing the timing of the gunshots . . .

  • Kevin47||

    I'm with you. If the concern is strictly about selective editing, that seems fair to bring up.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Who gives a shit? This isn't about the truth, it's about H+R indulging in cop hate.

  • Paul.||

    Well, I was finally able to watch the video in full. The two shots in the back after he raised his hands are definitely problematic...

  • Agammamon||

    Ultimately my view is that the deputy could get away with claiming to be twitchy for the initial one or two shots. Not the one's where he continued to fire even after the suspect raised his empty hand in surrender.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Oh come on. If you or I were in a self-defense situation we wouldn't be able to flip the switch from shooting to not shooting that quickly either.

    This carjacker got 35 seconds to surrender and refused. I'm not going to cry in my beer over his loss.

  • VicRattlehead||

    Yes you are, it's about stopping the threat and staying alert if you cant do that don't become a civil servant they teach mind set and attitude in the military and mark you for it in simulation fire and can disqualify you from carrying firearms if you exhibit blackout, panic, or fear of the discharge. this pathetic excuse for a cop had plenty of time to react and observe but he was a panicked child reacting to his training that everyone is a criminal until proven innocent that is spoon fed to cops from day 1 of criminal justice education, I know I (had) wanted to be one when I still believed they were redeemable if only I could stand against the injustice of the system and protect the people from their servants

  • Paul.||

    Nice alt-text, btw.

  • ||

    Jesus Fucking Christ. Daily reports of psychopaths in uniform murdering people is getting pretty goddamn depressing.

  • John C. Randolph||

    What I'm seeing there is an unarmed man getting shot in the back while his hands are in the air. In other words, Tim Gaffney can go fuck himself.

    -jcr

  • ||

    I will second that.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    What I see is a violent criminal (carjacker -- a fact Mr. Krayewski forgot to mention) who got 35 seconds of warnings to put his hands in the air to show he was unarmed and refused to do so. The final shots came less than a second after his hands went up. Pretty sure most of us "civilian" self-defenders wouldn't be able to flip the switch that quickly either.

  • Brian D||

    Yeah, once I get started making that trigger pulling motion with my index finger, it takes me a good five minutes to stop doing it over and over.

  • VicRattlehead||

    You dont shoot until you know there is a reason, you dont black out and fire as rapidly as possible, and you sure as fuck dont shoot an unarmed man in the back, if you take a gun in your hands in defense of the weak you should accept that you will be shot at, stabbed, maimed or possibly killed as a result but you do it anyways because you believe that protecting the innocent is worth all of that, not to go out on a sociopathic power trip shooting up people who don't obey you instantaneously .
    we all know you're just a cop sock-puppet who defends any action a cop undetakes no matter how disgusting of a display of abuse it is so there really was no point in writing this but to just say fuck off slaver.

  • Franco Luke Garzo||

    I've spent most of my life in gun control heavy cities. Does this shit happen often when cops aren't involved? I.E. do citizens kill one another over silly mistakes like this at a similar pace?

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    Not even close. Last time I saw any stats on it, police were something like 6x more likely to pull this kind of stunt.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Probably because they are specifically called to deal with violent offenders and don't have an option to flee?

    Firefighters are 10x more likely to damage someone's house with water from a hose than other citizens -- THERE IS AN EPIDEMIC OF FIREFIGHTER ABUSE OMIGOD!

  • VicRattlehead||

    "Probably because they are specifically called to deal with violent offenders and don't have an option to flee?"
    Or maybe because the sheriff will cover for their asses no matter how many "civilians" get murdered by their goombahs because you know cops aren't subject to pesky things like laws, in Tulpas mind "I AM THE LAW"
    I bet you spank it to "Judge Dredd" comics you fucking sycophant slaver

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    You can’t say he’s not trying to earn his pay, but you can say Tim Gaffney doesn’t seem to know how the First Amendment works.

    Neither does Ed Krayewski, apparently. The first amendment doesn't protect fraudulent or libellous speech, which is what this is if they're selectively editing the video to make the shooting appear worse.

  • Dave Krueger||

    Whether the shooting was justified or not, if the station edited the video the way the cops are claiming and didn't make it clear to their audience that they did so, then the cops probably have a legitimate complaint.

  • cheap soccer jerseys||

    considering we have boatloads of unedited cop videos which are damning without alteration...

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement