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Newspaper accounts differ on story about couple brandishing gun at Kinderhook protesters

Jul 13, 2020 6:34 am
The Times Union and the Register Star both on July 12 updated the July 11 story from Kinderhook, where a couple brandished a gun at protesters passing by their home, and then left with police. Both stories base their report on Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson's eyewitness Facebook video posts from July 11, but the Register Star changed a few details to give the story a different spin. First, the headlines are different. The Register-Star said, "Mayor: Woman waves gun at BLM marchers" while the Times Union wrote, "Hudson mayor: Kinderhook couple points gun at Black Lives Matter activists." Johnson clearly mentioned that both residents of the Rothermel Lane home waved the gun at protesters, but the Hudson-based newspaper mentioned only the woman. Bill Williams in the Register Star wrote that state police brought the couple out of their house "after about 30 minutes," while Massarah Mikati in the Times Union and Johnson both said it was more like 40 minutes before they left with police. Williams estimated the protest crowd at 60, but did not say where that information came from. Williams wrote that, "State police did not respond to repeated calls and emails for comment," but he is known for his law enforcement sources. Besides those discrepancies, the stories are nearly the same. Williams did add a comment from Kinderhook Town Supervisor Patsy Leader. "I spoke to state police earlier today and it's a very thorough investigation that they are doing on this whole matter," Leader said. "They aren't releasing any information right now. They took a lot of evidence and they are looking at everything. It's hearsay right now and we need to make sure that the investigation is completed, and it is being done. We need all the facts." As of July 12, it is not known if the unnamed couple was arrested, or will face any charges. Mikati included a more damning quote from Johnson in the Times Union. "(It) was extremely disappointing not to see them at least get put in handcuffs or something because there's a crime that was committed here, at least menacing," Johnson said. "Could you imagine if I pulled a gun out on people protesting in front of my house? I would be all over the newspapers, I would've been arrested, they would've been saying all types of negative stuff about me." Johnson is the first African-American elected mayor in Hudson, and is also a volunteer WGXC programmer.
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