Attorney Demands ABC 15 Retract Story Accusing Police Officers of Botching Cases
An attorney is demanding that ABC 15 retract a story accusing her clients -- two Arizona police officers -- of making mistakes during investigations that prompted the Pinal County Attorney's Office to drop those cases.
Walt Hunter and Jarris Varnrobinson
Television reporter Navideh Forghani, reporting on how former Florence police detectives Jarris Varnrobinson and Walt Hunter handled a 2010 rape case, told viewers that there were five other cases the county attorney's office had to drop because of the officers' mistakes.
Attorney Lynne Bernabei, representing the cops, wrote to ABC 15 News Director Pat Costello demanding "a retraction of the false and unsupported statements about Mr. Hunter and Mr. Varnrobinson made in the story, which Ms. Forghani knew were false, or which she made with reckless disregard for the truth."
We've left a message for Costello seeking comment.
-Half-Baked ABC 15 Report Misses the Complete Story on Florence Cops
-Florence Exposed: A three-part investigative series on the Florence Police Department
-Cops Fight to Maintain Good Reputations as Florence Officials Try to Discredit Them
More from Bernabei's letter:
On March 6, 2014, ABC15 aired a story by reporter Navideh Forghani captioned "2 Florence police officers investigated over rape case," and posted an article reiterating the story on its website.
In her story, Ms. Forghani describes an Arizona rape trial in which my clients interviewed the seventeen-year-old alleged victim. Ms. Forghani attributes various investigative errors to our clients in that case, and goes on to state: "The mistakes didn't stop at this one case. The [Pinal] county attorney's office says it had to drop five cases, blaming mistakes by both Hunter and Varnrobinson." This statement is false, and Ms. Forghani knew it was false or made the statement without regard for the truth.
The Pinal County Attorney's Office denies ever telling Ms. Forghani it had to "drop five
cases" because of our clients. In fact, the office denies ever speaking with Ms. Forghani about these allegations.