If there’s one place a TV reporter should NOT be, it’s sitting in court among angry family members of a convicted child killer.
They are deeply upset and are looking to channel their anger at someone or something.
A reporter like myself is an easy target.
I should have picked my seat earlier. There was no other place to sit. Lesson learned.
Ruiz already pleaded guilty and admitted to body-slamming his girlfriend’s two-year-old daughter because she wouldn’t stop crying. She later died as a result of head injuries.
Towards the end of a heavy, emotional hearing, an unidentified Ruiz family member turned towards me and told me “not to paint him as a monster like everyone else does.”
Of course, when I offered this man an on camera interview to defend Ruiz, he declined and shook his head at such a revolting offer.
I heard the rest of the family sigh in disgust as if I’m the one responsible for their loved one’s character and credibility.
I told them they could be angry at me and that’s fine, but I was willing to share their side of the story.
A family member then turned to one of deputies and said I was “stirring people up.”
I was in the middle of a hornets nest, I sensed trouble and I got up quickly and I left my seat.
A really cool deputy saw and heard the predicament I was in.
She went out of her way to find me a seat next to the prosecution.
Ruiz was given a 36 year sentence, four years below the maximum under the stipulated plea agreement.
His family left. I didn’t bother approaching them, knowing things could have turned bad.
I wrote my report, while trying to be fair as possible.
Looking back, I still debate with myself if I should have even engaged the family.
But it’s my job to offer them their say, even if some of them would like to punch me in the face.
I walked out of court making sure I was aware of my surroundings, leaving behind another case, another convict and another short life remembered in court.
The little girl who was killed didn’t have a voice.
And that’s the real shame.
Today, I feel like I’m in a Seinfeld episode.
Or maybe it’s more like the Twilight Zone.
I just got off the phone with the media/marking spokesperson with Agfinity and I can’t believe what I was just told.
During that phone conversation, media/marking employee Mark Reinert alluded if I did a report on his company he would possibly send “candid” video of me to another television station “if we have to” and that they would talk to my “superiors.”
While Reinert didn’t directly indicate what the video captured, he hinted it shows me planting evidence against his company.
I HOPE ANOTHER TV STATION PICKS THIS “CANDID” VIDEO. PLEASE!
Apparently Reinert and company are desperate and fear a TV report about a big mistake they made involving what could be characterized as hate speech.
One of their convenience stores was found to be selling “Illegal Immigrant Hunting Permits” stickers at their shop in Eaton (see photo).
A viewer tipped us off about this sticker through an email and I paid a visit to their store in Eaton today.
I walked over to the rack of stickers but didn’t see the stickers for sale….at least not immediately.
There was an empty part of the rack, so I assumed they were removed.
However I did find the “Illegal Immigrant Hunting Permit” sticker under another stack on the rack.
I paid for it, along with a water and a Power Bar and then walked out.
Two managers came out and told me they shouldn’t have sold me the sticker.
They apparently removed them after complaints they were getting on their Facebook page, like this one.
Obviously they didn’t remove all the stickers.
I’m still moving forward with the story tomorrow after we do some research on the company that actually makes the stickers and distributes the product to Agfinity stores.
And if you see me on “candid” video planting the sticker THEY SOLD ME, please let me know.
I need a good laugh, because after years of being an investigative reporter, I’m dumb enough to plant evidence in a store with security video.
Please watch for my story tomorrow (Thursday).