WVNS reporter Jessie Gavin is under fire after viewers saw a youtube video shot by Gavin’s photographer showing both reporter and photographer refusing to identify themselves to a veteran who was asking for their help after getting yelled at by a Beckley city police officer who had pulled him over.
Both Gavin and her photographer were inside the squad car of Corporal McCormick with camera rolling for a report on the state’s new distracted driver law.
The video showed McCormick pulling Allen Wagner over for talking on his cell phone while driving. Wagner then exited his truck was quickly told by McCormick to get back in his vehicle. The situation quickly escalated with McCormick barking orders until Wagner complied. Even then, McCormick kept his hand resting on his gun while talking to Wagner through the truck window. The video cut to Wagner signing his citation and asking for and getting McCormick’s name, badge number and supervisors name.
The WVNS crew approached Wagner for the report with Gavin identifying herself as “Jessie with 59 News.” Wagner was asked a couple of questions about the law and then the conversation turned to his treatment at the hands of McCormick. “…you were a witness to the fact he was very rude and inconsiderate or anything else. Now after everybody’s done left the scene, gone, you’re not going to be able to get [unintelligible] and everyone’s going to have to take my word for it. So, what I need from you and you is ya’ll’s names.”
Both she and her photographer argued with Wagner about what happened. Wagner again told the two he needed their names when Gavin told him, “No you don’t because he wasn’t being rude in my opinion.” Then, when Wagner asked Gavin what news station she was with she replied, “I don’t have to tell you that.”
Despite Wagner telling Gavin she did not have permission to use any of the footage she and her photographer had just shot, the station used part of the confrontation in a story. Gawker reports the station posted the story to its website and “social media properties.” But it has since been removed. Just before TVSpy posted this story, the station removed the video from YouTube citing a copyright claim.
Viewers have posted their thoughts about what happened to both Gavin’s and the station’s facebook pages. “You are not a journalist, you’re a coward,” said one commenter. Another wrote, “I bet someone’s hating her facebook page right about now…lol. Hope it was worth that weak excuse for a “story”. Embarrassing an old veteran….nice one.”
TVSpy has reached out to Gavin, general manager Shane Moreland, news director Mark Durham and Allen Wagner but have not heard back.