Belardine (in black) attacks demonstrators in Scottsdale on Saturday (Dennis Gilman/Phoenix New Times)
CBS 5's Karla Navarrete's story on a protester, arrested at an anti-police protest, featured details on the man's family background, including naming his father and occupation. When it came to the other two men arrested that night, who were accused of attacking protesters, there was no such effort, despite one of the men's involvement in a crime which prompted international outrage. Had Navarrete googled either of the other men who were arrested after instigating a fight with demonstrators, she might have learned that one of the two men arrested, Matthew Michael Belardine, was involved in the Steubenville rape case.
Belardine in court in Steubenville last April (AP Photo)
Matthew Belardine, while never a suspect in the rape, was at one time the volunteer coach for the Steubenville High School football team and hosted the party that the Steubenville students attended the night that the sexual assault occurred. In April he was sentenced to 10 days in jail after he plead no contest to serving alcohol to a minor and making false statements to investigators. Belardine could have faced up to six months in jail for each of those charges, in addition he was sentenced to one year of probation, due to expire in April of 2015. Belardine was arrested after an investigation into other crimes tied to the rape of a student by Steubenville football players in 2012. The volunteer coach was charged along with a district principal and the Steubenville superintendent for their roles in knowing or covering up the assault of the student.
Matthew Belardine's arrest for assault and disorderly conduct on Saturday night occurred after he and a friend attacked participants in the anti-police demonstration on Saturday night, some of whom were wearing the notorious Guy Fawkes mask. His companion Samuel Lee Busic was charged with assault. Videographer Dennis Gilman captured Belardine's pal Samuel Busic charging through the crowd screaming "Fuck Anonymous!"
Why was Busic so angry with Anonymous? Well maybe because Anonymous played a central role in driving the Steubenville story into the national media and ensuring that charges were brought by officials, who up to that point seemed more inclined to ignore the whole thing, covering up for a popular sports team and players. Specifically, Anonymous doxxed Belardine. Anonymous has also been active in the protests in Ferguson, in particular outing Klan members publicly, including dumping the data of a local KKK leader.
Why was Channel 5, which was so vigorous in digging into the life of a protester accused of a property crime, so curiously negligent when it came to a man now charged with assaulting people at that same protest? The protest on Saturday night was in opposition to police brutality, specifically in Ferguson but also in general. KPHO has been accused over the years of being too cozy with police and specifically the local police union PLEA. And apparently the tool kit of the modern KPHO reporter doesn't include the modern classic, the Google search. And do we need to mention the obvious racial difference between those arrested and the treatment they got? This latest story is another stain on their credibility.
More local media follies:
Emails reveal: New Times Reporter Took a Mulligan on Occupy Phoenix
Fox 10 Producer "Thankful" for drunk driver crashing into Phoenix home