Richard Kimble on the line


The man on the phone was wanted, but not enough to rush him on the air at kstp-tv.

When Jacqueline Getty, a freelancer for the Minneapolis station, took a call from a man asking to speak with weekday anchor Randy Meier and claiming to be escaped Blue Earth County prisoner Erik Stookey, News Director Scott Libin decided not to put him on the air until the station could check things out.

The caller wanted to speak out on his alleged mistreatment by Blue Earth law enforcement.

Libin, who was called at home by assignment editor Marsha Pitts-Phillips while the suspected suspect was on the line, instructed his desk to get the police on the phone.

"We kept him on the line a good long time," Libin said. "Twenty or 30 minutes. We were caught off guard. Nobody knew exactly what was the appropriate thing to do. I want to be neither an agent of law enforcement nor a spokesman for this guy."

The station was covering Stookey's escape and was convinced that it was Stookey-who was facing charges on a prior escape charge-who called, "but I didn't think we had time to do a responsible job of reporting. I asked if this was information viewers needed immediately?"

Although he knew the caller might try another station, Libin waited until Sunday to run the man's comments, with responses from police.