Monday, December 5, 2016
Santa Maria Police Chief Ralph Martin defended the decision to release a fake press release for the first time in his 43-year career to protect illegal beaners in MS-13 gang investigation - “I am keenly aware and sensitive to the community and the media. I also had 21 murdered bodies lying in the city in the last 15 months.”
As is standard procedure when reporting on the actions of law enforcement, the story quoted a press release from the Santa Maria police. It read in part, “Jose Santos Melendez, 22, and Jose Marino Melendez, 23, were both arrested on identity theft charges.”
The story, though, was fake. The cousins were not arrested, and Immigration Customs Enforcement wasn’t even aware it supposedly had custody of the two.
That was not the fault of KSBY, whose reporters were operating as most do. It was the fault of the Santa Maria Police Department, which purposefully released false information to the news media as part of its investigation.
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