By: Joe Strupp
Editor Susan Goldberg of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland apologized Thursday to the parents of a 12-year-old shooting victim because they considered a cartoon in the paper “offensive and insensitive.”
The cartoon by Plain Dealer editorial cartoonist Jeff Darcy ran Sept. 5, four days after the child was killed by a stray bullet during a shootout in her East Side neighborhood. It depicted a young African-American girl with a shirt that proclaimed, “DON’T SHOOT! I’m a friend of a friend of friend of Mayor Jackson’s daughter.”
The girl’s parents, Karen Elliott and Steven Thomas, along with several community activist groups, accepted the editor’s apology during a meeting at The Plain Dealer, the paper reported.
“It’s terrible to lose someone you love, and I apologized to Asteve’s parents because that cartoon added to their pain,” Goldberg said after the meeting. “We regret that the cartoon was published and realize that offended many people in our community.”
Members of the anti-crime group Black on Black Crime Inc., NAACP, New Black Panther Party and other organizations had planned to protest in front of the paper, the Plain Dealer reported, and instead met privately with Goldberg and Editorial Page Editor Brent Larkin.
Police have arrested Eric “Big Willie” Wilson, 35, and James Yhonquea, 20, both of Cleveland, in connection with Asteve’ Thomas’ death on Sept. 1, the paper reported.