City of Newburgh Launches Unhinged Attack on DA and Media
A wild press release from the City of Newburgh that criticizes the media and hurls debunked accusations at the Orange County DA has created a political firestorm.
The whole incident began after a local television news crew raised questions about the lack of transparency within the City of Newburgh's police department. According to the news report, the City of Newburgh has been withholding press releases about crime in the city and refusing press requests for information about specific incidents. We can confirm that we have also received far fewer press releases about incidents in the City of Newburgh than in past years.
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler was interviewed for one of these news stories and agreed that police departments should be more transparent with the media when it comes to incidents of crime and arrests. Hoovler also stressed his support for the City of Newburgh police department and commended them on the job that they are doing.
After portions of the interview aired as a part of a local newscast, the City of Newburgh put out a stunning press release that ripped into the reporter and the District Attorney, alleging that they said things that they clearly did not. In the release, the City of Newburgh claims that the newcast alleged the city was "falsifying crime and arrest data" and that the DA was helping to perpetuate this claim.
Newburgh City Manager Todd Venning was quoted as saying that the news organization had a "reckless disregard of the truth" and the release went on to describe Hoovler as "delusional" and a liar.
Last week, Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler advanced a baseless conspiracy theory fabricated by a News 12 television presenter that the City is falsifying crime and arrest data... Any suggestion that the City of Newburgh Police Department is not in full compliance with all crime reporting requirements under state and federal laws is a deluded, reckless, egregious lie that calls into question District Attorney Hoovler’s integrity, and his continued fitness to serve. The people of Orange County deserve better than a District Attorney using his position to pay back political contributors on his way out of office.
Venning also insulted the local news organization saying that "it’s not surprising to see a local television personality struggle with basic tenets of professional journalism." He also threatened to pursue legal options against the news reporter and their station "for its reckless disregard of the truth."
The real truth, however, is that neither the District Attorney nor the newscast ever alleged that the City of Newburgh was falsifying crime and arrest data. The story was strictly about a drop in the number of press releases and the City's lack of cooperation with the media.
Hoovler responded to the vicious press release from the City of Poughkeepsie by debunking their claims and reiterating his support for the City's police department.
Contrary to the assertions by City of Newburgh officials, District Attorney Hoovler never alleged that the City of Newburgh was falsifying crime data. The News 12 report correctly quotes District Attorney Hoovler as saying that, 'Newburgh officials stopped communicating about crime and investigations like they used to last year,”' referencing a change in the City of Newburgh’s policy of issuing fewer press releases and responding less to press inquiries about violent crime.
Hoovler also alleges in his response that City of Newburgh officials have, in fact, personally asked the District Attorney's office to stop telling the press about crime in the City.
I have personally been asked by City of Newburgh officials to cut down on press releases issued on crimes that originated in the City of Newburgh. I am therefore not surprised to hear from news reporters that the City of Newburgh under City Manager Venning is issuing fewer press releases on arrests and violent crimes than they did previously.
The District Attorney says that he has not granted the City's request and has continued to release information about indictments and crimes in Newburgh as well as the rest of Orange County.