A VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY student was killed on Wednesday when his car was struck by a stolen vehicle doing more than 100 mph. The stolen vehicle fled the scene but was later found by police.
On Thursday, police arrested a 21-year old West Philadelphia man whose fingerprint was found on the stolen vehicle. Police paraded the handcuffed man in front of the media, and the alleged perpetrator's image was run all over television, online and in newspapers.
"He entered the courtroom as wide-eyed as a preschooler and dressed like one, in a blue Cookie Monster hoodie," read the lead of the Daily News' story on Friday morning. "But Kenneth Woods is more monstrous than any Muppet, Delaware County authorities said yesterday."
But by Friday afternoon, police had another suspect in custody and they revealed that their original suspect was innocent. That left the media scrambling to clear Kenneth Woods' name. Both the Inquirer and Daily News put the corrective story on their front pages on Saturday.
And that raises the question: should the media should images and reveal the names of people SUSPECTED to be guilty of committing crimes? Or should the media wait until there is a conviction before they publish information?
Perp walks have been in existence for a long time but in the age of the Internet and 24/7 news, are the media rushing to publish and/ or air the story before all the facts are known?
Or should the media continue this practice? After all, they didn't claim the guy was guilty. The police are the ones who made the mistake.
6 months ago