KHOU reported on the incident July 15 based on a witness who said shoppers “took matters into their own hands,” smashing the car window with a hammer while their mother, Araceli Cisneros, was inside the mall. In reality, Cisneros had actually accidentally locked the children — and her car keys — in the car, and had asked for help in smashing the windows to get them.
The lawsuit accuses KHOU and reporter Rucks Russell with a “reckless disregard” for the truth and with failing to do the “most basic fact checking.”
According to a story posted to community news site Covering Katy, it’s not the first time Russell’s been involved in an ethical controversy:
In 1998 while working in Florida for (Orlando ABC affiliate) WFTV Russell was suspended while his employer investigated his relationship with a woman who was a key witness in a murder case.
According to the Orlando Sentinel there were questions about how Russell obtained his information while reporting on the case. “Defense attorneys wanted to ask Russell about information he may have obtained through a friendship with the suspect’s wife, Angel Huggins,” according to the article.
Russell was later cleared by his employer and allowed to return to work, but his stay at WFTV didn’t last much longer. The Orlando Sentinel reported Russell left the station to “pursue other interests” the following year.