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NewsTribune Tries, But Fails In Reporting LaSalle Police Officer Incident –

La Salle, IL. (ECWd) –

Tom Collins, reporter for the News Tribune, decided to take a swat at our facts by simply asking the La Salle Police Chief to clarify the issues raised in this previous article (here).

First, he says we “got that much right” when we reported La Salle Police Officer James Strand had been punished with two days’ suspension earlier this year.

After that first paragraph, he starts failing, here’s how:

  • states that what was written doesn’t jibe with what the La Salle police chief gave us, and also gave to him…

In an email earlier today when we were attempting to verify the News Tribune received the exact same information we received, Collins refused to provide those documents to us. We have no way to verify the truthfulness of his statement until we receive the answer to another FOIA sent to La Salle police department for all documents provided to the News Tribune. Of interest is the reporter claims to have received the same “set” of documents we did except we did not receive a “set” of documents.  We received a one-page responsive document and published it with the article.

  • states we “selectively cited” the wording in the disciplinary report provided under FOIA

While at the same time only “selectively citing” Strand’s suspension for undertaking an investigation without first notifying his superior, and failing to name the other causes of the suspension, like:

  • Unauthorized Prohibited Associations
  • Unauthorized Persons in Police Vehicles
  • Unauthorized Personal Business
  • Conduct (inappropriate)
  • Unauthorized Leaving the City of La Salle
  • Unauthorized Personal Use of Cell Phone

How’s that for “selectively citing” things?  Interesting to see that we published the document for everyone to see and draw their own conclusions from while the News Tribune selectively cited from it and failed to link to it.

News-Tribune then says that the investigation wasn’t completed entirely in-house and that the State Police, Peru Police, and State’s Attorney’s Office all reviewed the facts BEFORE La Salle Police Chief decided to write the suspension letter, dated March 30, 2016.

Another case of selective citing I guess since Chief Uranich stated in the letter “an internal investigation of the above complaints“… Never mind that the State Police investigation and partial interviews were completed after this “internal investigation” letter and suspension were issued.

According to ISP documents provided under FOIA, their reports reflect interviews going into April and a Case Action Report dated May 5th of 2016, a full 36 days after the last date of his suspension. According to the ISP documents, Chief Uranich was not even interviewed until April 7, 2016, two days after Strand’s final suspension day. The ISP closed their case once notified of the suspension – which make us think the motive behind the suspension was to close the case prematurely, before the ISP interviewed Strand, the alleged prostitute, or the “unknown police officer impersonator who chose to impersonate a police officer and give an alleged prostitute $100” (that happens all the time LOL). Further discussion on the State Police report is HERE.

The appearance in publishing the News-Tribune article was to somehow cast doubt as to our interpretations of the facts given to us at the time while claiming to have received the exact same documents we received, and declining to provide those documents to us for comparison with what we actually received. The end result was casting doubt on their own article for apparently failing to review the Illinois State Police report that clearly conflicts with their reporting.

Of interest in our communications with the reporter is his one question to us.

“Answer me one question: Who tipped you off to the investigation?”

We find it quite interesting that his question to us had nothing to do with our reporting but instead appeared to focus on the fact we got tipped off.  We informed him we do not divulge our sources and frankly, we are surprised that he would ask such a question.
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3 replies »

  1. Here we go again…

    The self-appointed government watchdogs v. an alleged senior reporter representing himself to be a journalist.

  2. To paraphrase a famous Democratic Party operative and attorney, James Carville,
    “if you drag a hundred-dollar bill through LaSalle County, you never know what you’ll find.”

    I

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