[What follows is an unedited email the Santa Barbara News-Press sent to The Independent when asked for a response to police officer Kasi Beutel’s retraction request letter.]
The Santa Barbara News-Press stands behind the five-part series.
On 7.12.11 the Santa Barbara News-Press received a copy of an eleven page Demand Letter with attachments from Attorneys for Kasi Beutel demanding a series of retractions from Peter Lance’s five-part series which was published in the News-Press from June 22nd to June 26th and focused on the alleged misconduct of SBPD officer Kasi Beutel.
Like the press release issued by the SBPD on 6.23.11, just one day into our series, this letter contained factual misstatements, inaccuracies and false charges. Not once, in the entire letter, which contained thirty-five pages of attachments, did Officer Beutel’s attorneys Nye, Peabody, Stirling Hale & Miller, offer any credible evidence that disproved a single allegation in the series.
While repeated requests for information about Officer Beutel prior to the publishing of the series were ignored by her and the SBPD, it is disappointing to receive attachments from her lawyers that raise more questions than they answer. Rather than officer Beutel’s attorney responding in detail to what was reported in the five-part series, it appears that they are using a legal demand letter as a kind of press release.
Based on the assertions made by officer Beutel’s attorneys, the Santa Barbara News-Press finds no basis for a retraction.
We have the utmost respect for the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to serve and protect our community. However, we will not bury our heads in the sand and pretend all is well in paradise, censor the news, or refuse to ask difficult questions of those who are sworn to protect us. The press has a responsibility to watch the watchers. Sunlight is the best disinfectant on issues related to power and government. To fully answer the questions raised by this series we again demand that an independent prosecutor open an immediate investigation.