The sister of a man who led police on a vehicle pursuit in Phoenix, Arizona and fatally shot himself Friday afternoon said she is upset with FOX for airing his death on live TV.
FOX anchor Shepard Smith was providing commentary on the vehicle chase about 3 p.m. Friday when the man, identified as Jodon Romero, exited the vehicle, ran through a field, pulled out a gun and fatally shot himself.
The video first showed up in my Twitter feed, and I clicked on it thinking it was just a link to a car chase in progress. After watching it, I felt sick to my stomach. I can’t imagine what Romero’s family must be feeling right now.
“We took every precaution,” executive vice president for news Michael Clemente said in a statement provided to Poynter.
Yes, car chases can mean big ratings, but it’s important to remember that we’re dealing with people. Innocent bystanders could get hurt in the process.
“The FBI says 300 people a year die in these chases, including bystanders, police and other drivers.” – Poynter
I think it’s important to warn those in the vicinity that they might be in danger, but ultimately I’m not sure every pursuit warrants live coverage. I also agree with the last paragraph in Tompkins’ article.
“Think of a police officer’s family that might be watching. Think of the suspect’s family. They are humans, they are not ratings points.”