Quite The Error: Elizabethtown ‘News-Enterprise’ Invents Quote From Sheriff Saying Officers ‘Have A Desire To Shoot Minorities’

Nathan Francis - Author
By

Jan. 8 2015, Updated 7:49 p.m. ET

The News-Enterprise in Elizabethtown, Kentucky had an error for the ages in Thursday’s paper, with a fabricated quote from a local sheriff saying that police “have a desire to shoot minorities.”

The story, which appeared on the front page of the News-Enterprise‘s Thursday edition, was about police appreciation events being held that week. In the third paragraph of the story, the newspaper printed, “Hardin County Sheriff John Ward said those who go into the law enforcement profession typically do it because they have a desire to shoot minorities.”

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Reporter Anna Taylor’s original story correctly quoted the sheriff as saying officers get into law enforcement “because they have a desire to serve the community.” The paper’s editor, Ben Sheroan, said the newspaper is looking into the mistake and how it got through copy editing. He indicated that the error was intentional, and likely added by someone along the editing process. Sheroan said Anna Taylor did not write the sentence.

Readers noticed the News-Enterprise error almost immediately. Sheroan said the office started receiving calls just after 5 a.m., when the paper was first delivered. Though the error made it into print, those who accessed the story online saw a posted retraction.

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RETRACTION: This story – as it appeared in print – contained a major error and misquoted Sheriff John Ward. The version here has been corrected. The newspaper apologizes to the sheriff and other law-enforcement officers because of its mistake. – Ben Sheroan, editor.

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Sheroan also posted a longer apology on the paper’s Facebook page.

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A story on Page A1 in today’s print edition contains a major error and misquotes Sheriff John Ward in a paraphrased statement. The version online has been corrected. The newspaper formally apologizes to the sheriff and other law-enforcement officers offended by its typographical mistake. – Ben Sheroan, editor.

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Sheriff Ward wasn’t too pleased with the incredible News-Enterprise error either, writing a long explanation of the quote in question on the Sheriff Department’s Facebook page.

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“I have no idea how that was printed from any interview with me. Nothing was said that even resembles that comment. This interview was conducted with another member of the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office present and there was no part of the interview that mentioned any related comments. I have served in law enforcement for 30 years and have never known any officers that had these motives. There was no part of the interview that mentioned shooting any person. Let me assure you that there will be additional information forthcoming.”

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So far, the News-Enterprise has not found the person responsible for the error, but whoever was behind the fabricated quote will likely need to get their resume updated.

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