Waco Police Sgt. Patrick Swanton, the department’s public affairs officer, just finished a briefing that brushed back a certain news organization. “If you don’t know that it’s a fact, please come to me and I will give that information if I can,” said Swanton, in what he called the “brutally honest” phase of his briefing about Sunday’s biker-gang violence at the Texas city’s Twin Peaks restaurant.
He continued at scolding length:
There was a media outlet that was reporting that law enforcement killed four of the individuals at this scene Sunday afternoon. I will tell you, whoever told you that, that person belongs on “CSI” because the autopsies have not been completed and it is impossible at this point to determine that fact. I will tell you, is it possible? Yes. Is it a fact? No. Not until the autopsies are complete and we get the final results. Will we tell you how many we shot and how many were possibly deceased by police rounds? Without a doubt we will. You will know that when we know that. The information that is out there right now — if you got lucky and guessed that number, congratulations. If you didn’t, shame on you for putting that information out there that may have been incorrect.
What “media outlet” is Swanton singling out here?
CNN maybe? The 24-7 news outlet cited a “law enforcement source” as saying that “preliminary information indicates that four of the bikers killed were killed by police gunfire. The investigation continues and the ballistics will be analyzed to determine for certain who was responsible for each shooting.”
Moments after Swanton addressed reporters, he appeared on CNN with host Ashleigh Banfield, who revisited his rebuke to that “media outlet.” “I heard you earlier calling out the TV network, saying that four of those who were killed were killed by police gunfire and you were quite clear in suggesting those autopsies aren’t done yet and that that can’t be finalized detail,” said Banfield. “That’s preliminary information that actually a law enforcement source gave to CNN that four of these people — but I want to make sure. And by the way, we double-checked it. Once you finished your news conference, we went back to that law enforcement source and that source is standing by that prelim information suggesting that four of those people were killed possibly in a hail of police bullets.”
Bold text added to highlight a word upon which Swanton jumped.
“The first point that you made was that was a possibility,” he replied to Banfield. “There are lots of possibilities here. What it’s important that you understand is that’s not fact. What you’ll get from the source that’s releasing information, which is Waco police and Texas [Department of Public Safety], is fact. Is there a possibility that more were killed by police? Yes there is. Is there a possibility that less were killed by police? Yes there is. It’s not fact, and that’s what you’re going to get from us.”