Letter blasts coverage of detainee's Limbaugh ordeal

The SE Texas Record Oct. 17, 2011, 8:50am

Dear Editor,


Your coverage of the incident regarding the arrest of Ms. Boyd, who then was subjected to various indignities, did her no service, indeed held her up to ridicule, in its focus on what you deemed the most trivial.

First, Deputy Goad, ticketing her for driving on the shoulder, was callously indifferent to her explanation that she had an auto malfunction. His default demeanor, rather than "to serve and protect," was rather "all n****s lie."

He could not be bothered to let her open the hood, but rather found arresting her more convenient.

This mindset is not unique -- remember the Dallas-area cop who stopped the Texan football player who was taking his wife to the hospital where his mother-in-law was dying? The car had come to a rolling stop. Instead of listening to their pleas that they be allowed to get to the hospital, he arrested the wife when she tried to argue. While he detained them, the mother-in-law died.

The family was black. The husband was also prominent. This cost that officer his job.

Ms. Boyd is black. She is not a celebrity. This is no cause either for her to submit meekly to gratuitous indignities nor to waive redress against that officer.

Unlike that football player, Ms. Boyd did nothing wrong. So ruled a judge who heard the case. Had this been open to question, surely that judge would have ruled in favor of Deputy Goad (an apt name!) And yet this did not end Ms. Boyd's ordeal -- she was held overnight.

As to the Lush Rimshot radio blahcast, she can't sue him. Aside from First Amendment considerations, he can claim ADA protection, argue that his mean-spirited buffoonery is product of a variant of Tourette's Syndrome.

Goad lacks that excuse. An officer in the process of enforcing a law has no business listening to any radio except police band. This is either an example of Goad's dereliction of duty or of intentional, gratuitous, malicious infliction of distress.

Your coverage was not in the tradition of ethical journalism, but rather a sensationalist account meant to bolster the biases of your employers. Admittedly it is no more actionable than the tabloid drivel gracing checkout counters, and likely its factual content is technically accurate.

Still, it does you no credit. Indeed, it weakens your editorial stance -- if you cannot treat factual accounts with the honesty they deserve, why should others respect your opinion-feature articles as thoughtful?

In sorrow,

Tom Watson
Bridge City, Texas

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