David Simon, who was one of the creators of “The Wire,” has a fantastic piece in the Sunday Washington Post. It’s a great reminder, if we needed another one, of the value that professional watchdog journalism brings to civic life. Here’s a little excerpt:
On Feb. 17, when a 29-year-old officer responded to a domestic dispute in East Baltimore, ended up fighting for her gun and ultimately shot an unarmed 61-year-old man named Joseph Alfonso Forrest, the Sun reported the incident, during which Forrest died, as a brief item. It did not name the officer, Traci McKissick, or a police sergeant who later arrived at the scene to aid her and who also shot the man.
It didn’t identify the pair the next day, either, because the Sun ran no full story on the shooting, as if officers battling for their weapons and unarmed 61-year-old citizens dying by police gunfire are no longer the grist of city journalism. At which point, one old police reporter lost his mind and began making calls.
If you haven’t seen “The Wire,” it’s worth watching. Netflix the first season. Or if you’re willing to figure out who people are in midstream, watch the fifth season, which focuses on The Sun.