[UPDATED] Kentucky newspaper retracts ‘major error’ in police story, fires two staffers

Actually, he didn’t say that

Sheriff John Ward denies telling that to the Elizabethtown (KY) News-Enterprise. The correct quote, he says, is that officers go into law enforcement “because they have a desire to serve the community.”

“Nothing was said that even resembles that comment,” Ward writes on the department’s Facebook page. “This interview was conducted with another member of the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office present and there was no part of the interview that mentioned any related comments. I have served in law enforcement for 30 years and have never known any officers that had these motives.”

The paper has retracted the statement, which appeared on today’s front page. It initially called the misquote a typographical error, but the editor now blames it on a production flub. The sheriff says the line change “might have been malicious or intended as a joke.”

Update: Two copy desk staffers – 23 and 32 years old – have been fired, I’m told. One wrote the “shoot minorities” line on the page proof as a joke and the second – in charge of the front page – put it in the story. One worked at the paper for about six years, the other less than a year.

Update 2: Editor Ben Sheroan writes: “A function and process designed to rid the news pages of error instead added a terrible one that altered the reporter’s original sentence. No reasonable excuse can exist.”

* Kentucky newspaper retracts “major error” in police story (wave3.com)
* Editor: Error should not have happened (thenewsenterprise.com)
* Apology not accepted by many in the News-Enterprise comments section (facebook.com)
* “There was no part of the interview that mentioned shooting any person” (facebook.com)