The Siskiyou County Sheriff Jeremiah LaRue has announced an investigation into five media outlets that abused their privileges in the burn area of the McKinney Fire.
A press release was issued by the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office that addressed complaints of the media’s conduct during the McKinney Fire.
“Over the past week we have learned, and continue to learn of media bringing unauthorized people into the restricted evacuation zone, trespassing on private property, and disturbing the scenes of burned homes where law enforcement had not yet searched for human remains,” said the sheriff in the statement. “This type of behavior is inexcusable and unprofessional.”
The media outlets that are currently under investigation are ABC News, KRCR News Channel 7, CBS News, KDRV News Channel 12, and the Los Angeles Times.
As stated, working with the media is very important to the sheriff’s office and we have done our best to more than accommodate them, but this behavior is only fueling distrust of media. https://t.co/GhwDuj8xn2— Jeremiah LaRue (@CASheriffLaRue) August 8, 2022
While media coverage is crucial during a fire, especially to relay evacuation orders and immediate dangers to residents, it’s also very important not to tamper with a burned scene. Emergency personnel are still trying to keep the public safe and have not had a chance to investigate each burned residence.
“Working with the media is very important to us and we have done our best to more than accommodate them, but this behavior is only fueling distrust of media,” said the sheriff’s office.
Once the investigation is completed, it will be submitted to the District Attorney.
“This is to be transparent and not discredit our media partners who took a responsible, respectful approach.” said the sheriff. “Moving forward, we hope the media will be more conscientious of the law and respect the dignity of fire victims and their families.”
Read the full press release: