BRONX, N.Y. — Just minutes after NYPD officers shot and killed an unarmed 16-year-old teen in the Bronx, reporters showed up at his family’s home and asked for “the most thugged out picture of him” that they could find.
The boy’s mother handed out a photo scrapbook and told reporters to choose whichever pictures they wanted. Among the hundreds of pictures showing the boy eating Thanksgiving dinner, helping his little sister with her homework, and so on, reporters chose to use a picture of him with his hair in cornrows while on vacation in the Bahamas. They cut out the background and cropped the photo into a headshot before sending it off for publication.
“We saw the pics of him volunteering at soup kitchens and making goodie bags for the troops,” said news editor Joanne Smith, “but that boring shit doesn’t bring in any eyeballs. We need page views, not accuracy.”
Winston Woodley was walking home from afternoon mass after spending his morning collecting unused food from restaurants and bringing them to homeless shelters across the city. As an officer approached him on Fordham Rd., Woodley pulled a Snickers bar out of his pocket and began to unwrap it before being shot seven times.