Feb 14, 2013
The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office defended their decision to ask news outlets to cease tweeting at the climax of the manhunt for triple-murder suspect Christopher Dorner, saying they would do it again, in the interest of officer safety.
Christopher Lee, spokesman for the office, said he sent out the tweet after hearing that the Sheriff’s Department had made the request. The Sheriff’s Department does not have a Twitter account, but the DA’s office does, so he wanted to help out the agency.
The tweet, which was later deleted, spurred discussion on Twitter and accusations that the agency was helping in the cover-up of police corruption. It also became the subject of a question of how Twitter and First Amendment rights fit up against an ongoing manhunt where officers had already been hurt in the line of duty.
“The fact is that officer safety was my number one priority,” Lee said.
Lee said the request did not come from Cindy Bachman, or directly from the Sheriff’s Department, which earlier had asked media helicopters to back off from the scene.
“Knowing that they didn’t have a Twitter feed, I thought maybe that was something we could help out [on],” Lee said.