OPSEU/SEFPO takes London Free Press to task for irresponsible journalism

OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas sent the following letter to the London Free Press today to register a formal complaint against reporter Randy Richmond for his biased, dangerous and inciteful coverage of events at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre.

July 21, 2021

Joe Ruscitti, Editor-in-Chief
The London Free Press
210 Dundas Street, Suite 201
London, ON, N6A 5J3

Re formal complaint against Randy Richmond

Dear Mr. Ruscitti,

I am writing to you today to express my deep concerns about your newspaper’s coverage of recent events at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre and in particular the work of your reporter Randy Richmond, who has taken a deeply unethical and dangerous approach.

In an ill-conceived attempt at producing flashy headlines, Mr. Richmond has written unsubstantiated accounts with no regard for the potentially dangerous fallout. In fact, the stories that he’s been printing have caused a backlash that has been directed against correctional staff at the detention centre.

His stories have put OPSEU/SEFPO members at risk based solely on conjecture and speculation; essentially accusing them of committing a crime, when there have been no charges laid. This is beyond irresponsible – it’s reckless.

He has also named certain individuals in stories, when it was not necessary to do so – putting them at greater risk, and once again for no justifiable reason other than selling papers.

This is not fair reporting, this is not good reporting. And it is no small matter.

While Richmond has reached out for a statement, our union doesn’t comment on matters of life and death before the facts are clear. I would hope that reporters at the London Free Press understand that concept and would be held to the same basic standard.

We don’t play games with people’s lives. We take the health and safety of our members very seriously and we expect some basic responsibility from the media. Let the investigative agencies do their work. Jailhouse gossip and unsubstantiated allegations have no place in responsible journalism.

Please cease this dangerous and inciteful tabloid style journalism.

Sincerely,

Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President of OPSEU/SEFPO

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