Dear Village Voice: Please Correct Your Cool C Execution Story
In the early morning hours on Wednesday, New York’s Village Voice newspaper published a story stating that former Philadelphia rapper Cool C was to be executed by Pennsylvania on Thursday for the 1996 murder of Philadelphia police officer Lauretha Vaird.
The story, “Rapper Cool C Slated for Execution on Thursday,” by Voice writer and rapper Chaz Kangas, became the top-trending Facebook story — at least in Philadelphia — by the early afternoon.
Countless news outlets, blogs (including one of Philly Mag’s) and the like picked it up and ran with it.
The trouble is, the Voice story, which was shared thousands of times, was untrue. And more than 24 hours later, the newspaper still hasn’t corrected the online story. Here is a screenshot of the story as of 11:15 a.m. on Thursday.
It’s true that the death warrant had been signed last year with a date of January 8th for the lethal injection, and it had seemed that Cool C had exhausted all of his appeals. But in December, Cool C’s legal team made a discovery motion to compel prosecutors and the police to turn over evidence relating to the case, and on December 5th, a federal judge granted a stay of execution. It’s all right there in the federal court dockets.
On top of that, journo-rapper Kangas couldn’t bother to get the facts of the story straight. In the first paragraph alone, he makes a glaringly obvious error when he writes that Vaird was “the first officer killed responding to a call in the city’s history.” We’re pretty sure that the families of the many officers killed responding to calls prior to Vaird’s death would disagree.
The newspaper’s errors were negligent and regrettable. But the fact that they’re not doing anything about it is just shameful.
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