KSTP sued for defamation by Ryan Larson, man wrongly accused of killing Cold Spring cop
Ryan Larson, the man who was initially arrested in connection with the November 2012 murder of Cold Spring Police Officer Tom Decker, has sued KSTP for allegedly defaming him during their TV coverage of Decker's shooting.
Larson, you'll recall, was arrested the day after Decker was gunned down and held for five days on suspicion of second-degree murder. But investigators didn't have enough evidence to charge him and he was released from custody.
About a month later, a man named Eric Thomes hanged himself when police came to question him about his possible role in Decker's death. At his house, police recovered the shotgun that was used to murder Decker as well as the black van with a loud exhaust that a witness reported at the scene of the shooting.
In the lawsuit, Larson's lawyer argues KSTP rushed to judgment during a November 30, 2012 news broadcast by repeatedly saying Larson had been charged with a crime when in fact that wasn't the case.
The suit attributes this quote to 5 Eyewitness News reporter Joe Mazan: "Police surrounded the scene and arrested Larson. He's charged with second-degree murder."
That claim was later echoed by reporter Todd Wilson, who said Larson "is charged with [Decker's] murder," according to the lawsuit.
Larson's lawyer goes on to argue KSTP created a false impression of guilt by showing Larson's mugshot while Wilson interviewed Decker's mother.
"These images and the interview with Mrs. Decker falsely, and by innuendo, inferred plaintiff Larson was her son's killer and are defamatory," the lawsuit says.
Larson is seeking more than $50,000 from KSTP, the Star Tribune reports. That's a little bit less than the more than $75,000 he's seeking from WCCO, who he also sued for similar reasons earlier this month.
Larson's lawyer says more lawsuits may be coming:
Larson's atty = might file suit against othr media outlets, broadcast & print, 4 Cold Spring cop murdr coverage. "we're still investgatng"
-- Chao Xiong (@ChaoStrib) April 28, 2014
-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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