Minnesota Man Sues WCCO For Defamation

By Merrill Knox 

wcco setA Minnesota man has filed a defamation lawsuit against WCCO, the CBS-owned station in Minneapolis, for a series of reports identifying him as the killer of a police officer.

Although Ryan Larson was arrested and jailed for five days in connection with the officer’s death, he was never charged. Another man who was a person of interest in the case later died by suicide, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Larson, who now lives in Long Prairie, contends two tweets by a radio reporter and separate news reports wrongfully pointed to him as the cop’s killer and said he was expected to be charged.

According to the lawsuit, reporter Chris Simon tweeted on Nov. 30: “Chief Phil Jones of Cold Spring PD salutes slain officer Tom Decker Shot by welfare suspect Ryan Larson.” A second tweet stated: “The BCAs Drew Evans confirms officer Decker was ‘ambushed’ when shot twice and killed by Ryan Larson.”

The lawsuit says the statements in the tweets were false, misrepresented statements by law enforcement officials and were defamatory. He also says he was implicated and defamed in television news reports that included his photo.

Larson’s suit in U.S. District Court seeks more than $75,000. WCCO News Director Mike Caputo said he hasn’t seen the suit and couldn’t comment.