KCTV Kansas City anchor/reporter Craig Nigrelli has 15 years in investigative reporting, but he could not get eyewitness information following a deadly melee outside a Knights of Columbus hall in 2006, reports Broadcasting & Cable. Two college students were killed and 10 more wounded as some 60 shots were fired in a brawl. A few hundred people were at the event, yet when police and reporters began canvassing for information, no one seemed to have seen a thing.
Nigrelli says the code of silence surrounding violent crime, the product of the grass-roots “Stop Snitching” campaign, has a chokehold on Kansas City. At various times while he's been interviewing witnesses, someone will walk by, repeatedly muttering “click-clock, click-clock”–simulating the sound of a gun cocking and firing. As one might expect, the witnesses promptly clam up. Investigative reporters in all corners of the U.S. increasingly are encountering “Stop Snitching.” In Detroit, WJBK's veteran investigative reporter Scott Lewis speaks of a city “paralyzed by fear” when it comes to speaking with police or media. In West Palm Beach, Fl., WPEC Executive VP/General Manager Brien Kennedy cites gang members lurking menacingly across the street from a reporter interviewing witnesses at crime scenes.