Ocala, Florida — Ocala Post recently received several e-mails and Facebook messages from individuals complaining about the names and photos of juvenile criminals, drug dealers, and a recently arrested business owner, being used in some of Ocala Post’s recent articles.
One Facebook message called an article slander, defamation of character, and made mention that it was causing “pain and suffering.” An e-mail also asked; “WYA?” Which is street slang for “where you at.” A common phrase used by criminals and wannabe gangsters when they intend to inflict harm upon another person.
Oddly enough, one e-mail even accused an Ocala Post article of fueling an arrestee’s drug addiction.
Some of the threats have included lawsuits, burning Ocala Post to the ground, and, in so many words, the loss of life.
This is not the first time Ocala Post has dealt with these types of issues.
RESPONSE FROM THE EDITOR:
It is not only absurd, but also very unlikely that Ocala Post contributed to an individual’s drug addiction.
In order for an article to be considered slander or defamation of character, the contents of the article would need to be false.
Ocala Post will stop printing names in articles, and stop using photos, when criminals stop breaking the law. As long as Freedom of the Press is protected by the United States Constitution, and Florida allows the press access to public records, Ocala Post will continue to print the names and photos of criminals in all articles. Ocala Post staff are instructed not to leave out any details from official reports, unlike other media outlets. And Ocala Post always strives for accuracy.
Marion County residents have an absolute right to know who is living next door.
As a reminder, per Florida State Statute 985.04(2), information about and photos of juveniles charged with a felony (or three or more misdemeanors) is public record. Juveniles are required to be protected if they are victims of a crime.
And, contrary to popular belief, Baker Acts are not exempt from public record laws. Any Baker Act initiated by a law enforcement official is public record and does not become part of a medical file, hence why they are listed on the Clerk of the Court website. Attorney General Pam Bondi has made it clear that the only time a Baker Act is exempt from public record is if the Baker Act was initiated by a medical facility. Baker Acts initiated from a clinic within a jail or prison are also exempt from public record and become part of the inmate’s medical file.
Attorney General Pam Bondi has been very clear on this ruling.
If you do not wish to have your child’s name or photo published on Ocala Post, perhaps you as the parent should be more aware of your child’s behavioral problems and know their whereabouts at 2 a.m.
Also, claiming that your child has good grades and good classroom behavior does not mean your child is not felon material outside of the classroom. Statistics show that serious disrespect outside of the classroom toward others, abuse toward animals, or sex crimes against another, are red flags and usually stem from dysfunctional families already familiar with the criminal justice system. If you as the parent refuse to discipline or have an extensive arrest record yourself, what do you think is going to happen?
If your child or family member is to the point of no return, causes harm to another human being, terrorizes or sexually abuses other children, or mutilates animals for the thrill of it, good parents and families have the right to know in order to protect children and other law abiding citizens who truly are innocent, from becoming a victim.
Ocala Post will not back down due to threats.
Also, Ocala Post does not delete comments or block users in respect to free speech, however, threats of bodily harm are not protected under free speech like some Facebook attorneys would like to think. Threats of bodily harm toward another on Facebook are an arrestable offense and are a quick way to join the very criminals you are “sticking up” for via comments.
And just because you might have been arrested and bonded out of jail 20 different times due to our weak justice system, does not mean you know the law.
Additionally, we do invite you to join the conversation and have a respectable debate. And if you do, try to at least pretend like you are educated and are not reading from a book purchased at Thugs “R” Us. A person might also want to know the difference between right and wrong before defending a criminal.
If you feel this response is unprofessional, you are most likely one of “those” people.
As for the individuals who actually care about their children or family members being productive members of society and don’t leave all the discipline to teachers or law enforcement, we salute you.
When it comes to the safety of your children and family, the term “politically correct” should not come into question.
Welcome to Ocala Post.