TN Editor Defends Mug Shots of 32 Black “Worst of the Worst” Criminals


Alison Gerber, editor of the Chattanooga, Tn., Times Free Press, defends her publishing mug shots on the front page Nov. 17 of 32 black men called the “worst of the worst” Chattanooga criminals by Police Chief Bobby Dodd. Gerber said the paper was “barraged with feedback” accusing editors of being “irresponsible, distasteful, racist.”

Gerber agrees that it was “an in-your-face presentation,” but adds, “At least people are now talking about this issue. And people are not just talking about the arrests, but about the societal conditions that push people to choose crime — poor education, lack of jobs, criminal records that, even if they want to go straight, make it difficult to find work once they get out of jail.” She concludes: “Our coverage of this story has only just begun.”

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