By David Li, bostonese.com
In an article titled Malden Man, Others Arrested Stealing Apples published on October 18, 2012 on Malden Patch, names, addresses and pictures of five Asian suspects arrested earlier that week in New Hampshire were made public on patch.com. This report as you may expect immediately received multiple anti-minority and anti-immigrant comments, and some vicious comments had to be removed.
According to the report, five Massachusetts residents, including one living in Malden, were charged with theft after attempting to steal apples from an orchard in Londonderry, NH. They were freed on bail, and was scheduled to appear in Derry District Court on November 5.
||There are many serious questions asked by Asian residents in the greater Boston area about such report. Is there more serious crime to cover in Malden than something like apple-stealing that happened out of state? What is the public interest of publishing names, addresses and pictures of these suspects, preventing them stealing more apples in Malden? What about innocent until proven guilty? What if these suspects are cleared by the court, and who will be responsible for the damaged reputation of these five suspects? What if the suspects are Caucasians, will their pictures be published?|
Without clear answers to these questions, Malden Patch and other main stream media raised suspicion of racist bias toward Asian people mentioned in that report. They may have names and looks different than you used to cover, but they are still entitled to the due process. The crime they are accused of doesn’t deserve the public humiliation of names, addresses and pictures being published.
In an email response to this report, editor Chris Caesar wrote: “I post mugshots all the time; all news outlets do. Am I racist against whites, blacks, latinos etc. as well? Some departments make them easily available; some do not. Our reporter in Londonderry sent that to me, and the Londonderry PD released the photos, so I ran them. Here is another local paper doing the same thing: http://www.derrynews.com/londonderry/x674150596/Four-Mass-residents-arrested-for-apple-theft. It’s not as though I am sitting in my office, going through mug shots and picking out only the Asians ones to embarrass.”