TULSA - An Oklahoma Highway Patrol captain is speaking out after comments falsely attributed to him went viral on the Internet.
A photo of Capt. George Brown was posted, apparently by a website in Texas, with the caption "Ladies, if you don't want to get raped by a cop, 'then follow the law in the first place so you don't get pulled over.'"
Problem is, Brown never said that.
After a story about several attacks on women by a sheriff's deputy (not a trooper), a local Tulsa TV affiliate interviewed Brown about how women should handle traffic stops.
Here's the pertinent part of his reply, transcribed from the actual interview video:
"Many times people want to know what to do, simply what do I do on a traffic stop? It’s an uncomfortable situation for everyone involved, for the officer who has to worry about officer safety and for the person, many times female, who are stopped. So, what we do, we suggest they first and foremost do your part and do what it takes to obey the traffic laws, not get stopped.”
Then the anchor who read the story on air followed with what is called a "tag" in the news business.
She said: "He says the best tip that he can give is to follow the law in the first place so you don’t get pulled over."
National websites, including the Huffington Post, went with the story put out that Brown had advised women not to get pulled over if they didn't want to be raped.
That particular story included several aggregious factual errors, referring to the anchor as a male and stating that "he" had conducted the interview.
Brown says the real shame is that false reporting of that nature makes people distrust law enforcement.
"We need the people's trust, we need the trust of the citizens whom we serve."
His advice? "Trust your local news, the trusted news sites, the mainstream media, the sites that you can go to that they have responsible reporting, and don't fall victim to slanderous lies that are spread throughout social media."
In other words, don't believe everything you read on the Internet.