Iowa paper shows white suspects' yearbook pics, black suspects' mugshots for burglaries

An Iowa newspaper is under fire for its bias in reporting after it used mugshots for black suspects but yearbook pictures for white suspects; both sets of suspects had allegedly committed the same crime, Raw Story is reporting.

The Gazette in Cedar Rapids reported the story of three white suspects who had been arrested for being in possession of stolen items on March 23. The images used of Ross Lembeck, Seth Gross and Logan Ryan, all 19, were taken from the freshman yearbook. All the boys were wearing matching ties.

The Gazette reported the story: “The three wrestlers were charged with possessing alcohol under the legal age. Lembeck was charged with drunken driving. Gross was charged with interference with official acts because he fought with officers, police said. Ryan was cited and released.”

That same day, the Gazette reported a similar story concerning four African-American men who were also arrested related to burglary charges. This time, the paper used mug shots for their images of Kwain E. Crawford, 36; Milton Whitehead, 50; Quentin D.W. Eatman, 24; and Curtis J. Johnson, 29.

The Gazette’s website now has mugshots up for the white suspects as well.

In the comments thread of the article’s Facebook post, several people pointed out the discrepancy and even questioned not only the images but also the language used, with one commenter noting, “Why are they referred to as ‘wrestlers?’ Are they wrestling in the story? I thought they were burglars.”

Another commenter said, “As Rafi points out, regardless of what photos were available of the black suspects, the white suspects definitely had mugshots taken. In trying to justify the discrepancy, The Gazette explained they must make a formal request in order to get mugshots, yet they were clearly willing to take that extra step when it came to the black suspects.”