An off-hand comment made by veteran anchor Al Ruechel was inadvertently included during Bay News 9‘s coverage of a press conference held by Goliath Davis, a city official whose recent firing sparked controversy in St. Petersburg.
As the local cable news station cut away from the press conference, Ruechel was heard describing area activist Omali Yeshitela, who was preparing to speak, as “a loaded gun.”
Ruechel appeared later to issue an apology to viewers. “We here at Bay News 9 would like to apologize for a comment that you might have heard on the air earlier,” Ruechel said. “A microphone was mistakenly left on following a news conference and I inappropriately and unprofessionally expressed an opinion that was wholly my own and does not — does not reflect the opinion of Bay News 9. I sincerely apologize for this personal error, and I do humbly ask for your forgiveness.”
Bay News 9, as well as other stations in the area, have been closely following the case of Goliath Davis, who held his press conference last Friday afternoon. Davis says that he was fired from his post as Senior Administrator of Community Enrichment after failing to attend the funerals of three police officers killed in the line of duty. Davis, who is a former police chief, did attend the funeral of the man convicted of killing two of the officers
Here’s WTVT‘s coverage of Davis’s firing:[h/t Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg Times]