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Friday, December 17, 2010

Indulging Heidi Jones

Getting a few minutes on air every day doing the weather was apparently not enough attention for a certain prejudiced New York weathercaster. 

There is a report that disgraced WABC-TV weather anchor Heidi Jones used her fabricated Central Park rape allegation to get round-the-clock protection from New York City police. 

Jones was recently arrested for filing a false police report in the matter. (Note: As Crime, Politics and Policy reported earlier this week, quoting a New York Post article, Jones admitted her story was false.)  As more details emerge, it may become apparent just how much the police take reports of attempted rape and the volume of resources expended to investigate the matter and protect people.  Those details should provide cold comfort to observers; the flip side is that any false report diverts needed resources from other crimes and leaves other potential victims vulnerable.  False reports -- particularly ones identifying possible suspects -- also lead to entirely innocent people coming under suspicion, being surveiled, and questioned, and all because of a lie. 

But the problems with Heidi Jones' criminal behavior and seemingly out-of-control  who thought to identify her attacker as a middle-aged Hispanic man, thinking that such a description would be likely to be credible.  Crime, Politics and Policy has previously criticized her description as showing an anti-Hispanic bias that is overtly, inexcusably and seriously prejudical.  

To sum up, it appears the criminal consequences of this false allegation may be proportional to the potential harm it posed to the public and the specific class of suspects matching her fabricated account, as well as to the outrage the authorities must feel for having their trust get violated so egregiously by a member of the respected news media.

Eric Dixon is a New York investigative lawyer and strategic analyst.  Mr. Dixon has been a practicing attorney since graduating in 1994 from Yale Law School.  Mr. Dixon handles matters involving government investigations as well as third party investigations of businesses and individual affairs, and has represented more than two dozen political candidates, committees and party organizations on ballot access and election law matters. Mr. Dixon is available for comment or consultation at 917-696-2442 and at edixon@NYBusinessCounsel.com. 

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