Judge rules WDAM cannot show video alleging abuse

By Mike McDaniel - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - New developments are in with WDAM's efforts to show video of alleged abuse within the Forrest County Juvenile Detention Center. The station is still unable to do so because of an order received Tuesday afternoon.

In it, youth court judge Mike McPhail upholds the injunction which barred WDAM from showing the video in the first place.

WDAM challenged the previous injunction in court last week and according to the final order, WDAM failed to provide evidence of a need in showing the video. WDAM attorney Leonard Van Slyke says the tapes are a matter of public interest and falls under the station's First Amendment right in airing them.

The court feels the video would jeopardize juvenile privacy, while Van Slyke says privacy will be protected.

A former employee of the detention center says the video shows alleged abuse of juveniles at the hands of guards. The sheriff's office confirms one guard was fired in 2009 for beating a juvenile, but so far no charges have been filed.

WDAM still has interviews with several victims who claim to have been beaten while in the center. However, the station isn't sharing those interviews until the legal issues are resolved.

As far as the final order is concerned, WDAM is now considering it's legal options, including possible appeal.

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