This is a special Lights & Sirens appearance by TNT editor David Zeeck. Here’s what he had to say on his blog today about publishing Terapon Dang Adhahn’s photo in the paper and online:
Since Tuesday the TNT had a photo of the man charged in several rapes of young South Sound girls. But we didn’t decide to print it until late yesterday.
Tacoma police asked us not to print the image while they were out questioning witnesses in other cases linked to the man. They wanted to present half a dozen photos of various men and see whether witnesses picked that of Terapon Dang Adhahn, charged yesterday in two complex rape cases.
Their concern was that — once Adhahn’s photo was widely circulated in the press — people might choose it in a photo line-up simply because it’s familiar to them.
We agreed to the TPD request as long as the photo wasn’t widely circulated. (It was being distributed in the Tillicum neighborhood by Lakewood police, seeking information in the disappearance of Adre’anna Jackson.)
That narrow distribution ended yesterday when all three Seattle television stations broadcast his photo from the Lakewood police flier, and when it appeared on news Web sites throughout the region.
Once the image was widely distributed, there was no further purpose in us withholding the image from our readers.