Steve Kraycik, the news director for local Fox affiliate Q13, resigned yesterday afternoon under rising criticism that he failed to air a police brutality video for three weeks after it was filmed—and then trying to prevent other stations from running the video—to preserve the station's relationship with police sources. The footage, which eventually aired on KIRO and triggered a city and federal investigation, appears to show a Seattle police officer stomping on an innocent detainee's head and threatening to "kick the Mexican piss out of you." Kraycik sent this email to Q13 employees announcing his departure:
I want to let you all know today is my last day here at Q13 FOX. As the leader of this newsroom, I feel that under the circumstances it’s best for me to step aside. I don’t want to allow the issues of the past week to be a distraction to the news staff.
I’m sad to go and I will miss you. As I’ve always said, you do excellent work here and I’ve been very proud to be your News Director for the past four years. You’ve accomplished some fantastic things—expanding our newscasts in the morning and evening, earning strong ratings, launching Washington’s Most Wanted and building a better newscast. It’s hard work, but we’ve done it together.
I have no regrets about taking this job in 2006 and again, I’m very proud of the team we built and what we’ve accomplished. I wish you all good health, happiness and success.
That's a pretty rosy portrayal of his resignation, considering that yesterday the station issued a frank apology, saying, "we took too long to do so and should have reported the story sooner."
Scrutiny escalated last Friday after KIRO television aired the video, and videographer Jud Morris said Q13 had declined to air the footage to avoid jeopardizing its relationship with the Seattle Police Department. "Because of their relationship with police, they are in a position where they get scoops and stories that nobody else gets," Morris said. "They work so closely on that all the time. They are just not willing to let that go, even if it means not reporting real news.”
Comments on Q13's website were harsh:
Didn't Q13 decline to air the story and then now has fired the photographer. So now your station is claiming exclusivity??? I have lost all faith in Q13 and you have lost a loyal viewer. You speak with false tongue.
what is really funny here is how Q13 is trying to come back after totally screwing this up and KIRO kicking their butt. Yes, Q13 is way too close to the Seattle Police and Q13 got caught trying to hide this!
I don't live in Seattle, but I read about this incident, including the cover-up effort by Q13. Disgusting. Q13 wanted to hide it and now they are attempting to take credit. BULL. Do not watch this station. Call the FCC to report their participation in the cover-up. Q-13 FU.
The video shows Seattle detective Shandy Cobane, a member of the gang unit, responding to an alleged robbery outside the China Harbor Club on Westlake Avenue North in the early morning hours of April 17. Cobane appears to stomp his boot onto the suspect's head and yells, "You got me? I'm going to beat the fucking Mexican piss out of you, homey. You feel me?" Another officer then appears to stomp the man's kneecap against the pavement. But officers released the detainee moments later when they realized he wasn't a suspect in the alleged robbery. Officers did not call for medical help, and the bloodied suspect then spoke to Morris.