Earlier this month, when the public learned about a beheading in Lawrence, rumors began to swirl and the public was left with a lot of unanswered questions.
Was it terrorism? Al Quaida? ISIS? The violent, illegal alien drug gang MS-13? Were the people of that neighborhood safe? What about the neighborhood where the victims lived? His friends? His family? If someone was going around beheading people, were the people of Lawrence in jeopardy?
We expected within hours of the discovery that Lawrence Police Chief Fitzpatrick or Mayor Dan Rivera would have held a press conference belaying the fears of Lawrence residents and quelling the rumor by stating what they knew right away; that it wasn’t terrorism, it wasn’t ISIS, and it wasn’t MS-13.
Instead, what we got was a press release from the chief that said absolutely nothing.
This not only fueled more speculation; it heightened people’s fears that, once again, government officials were covering up something and people’s lives were at risk by a mad man running around decapitating people.
But, what made the situation even worse, was the Mayor and Police Chief’s press conference, a full 24 hours later, where they both took to the microphone to say that… well…. they had nothing to say at all.
Even when pressed by a Valley Patriot reporter about the lack of transparency on the issue of terrorism, Mayor Rivera refused to come clean.
For his part, Rivera repeated over and over that to release any information at all would hinder the police investigation.
We reject that claim as insulting to people’s intelligence.
Alerting the public to the fact that the murder was not terror related had no bearing on the integrity of the case.
And while we understand that Chief Fitzpatrick is too afraid to upset the District Attorney, (who thrives on secrecy and is never transparent on any case), he doesn’t work for the DA, and neither does the mayor. They work for you.
They have a duty to be open and honest with the public in matters such as these.
They should have done so the day of the murder, at the very least the day after the murder, but they never did.
They now need to own up to it so that it doesn’t happen again. We are waiting.