NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- New Rochelle Police Commissioner Patrick Carroll, in an exclusive interview with Talk of the Sound last month, described a meeting with News 12 several years ago in which City officials pressured the Cablevision news outlet to discontinue reporting on alleged gang violence in New Rochelle.
"It's all about communication," said Carroll. "Getting on the same wave length as to what's fair and what's not fair, what's worth reporting and what's not."
Cablevision operates under a periodically renewed franchise agreement with the City of New Rochelle.
Sources at News 12 had previously told Talk of the Sound about the incident where Carroll and City Manager Charles B. Strome demanded a meeting with News 12 News Director Janine Rose and former anchor Brian Conybeare to complain about News 12 coverage in New Rochelle.
Conybeare has since left News 12 to become Special Advisor to the Governor for the New Tappan Zee Bridge.
"We had to go up to Cablevision on certain stories," said Carroll. "When we had incidents they kept saying it was a gang issue and wasn't a gang issue and they kept pushing this gang issue because it sounded good on their air and it wasn't gang related things that happened here."
Not long after that meeting, Talk of the Sound obtained a Gang Map created by the New Rochelle Police Department which listed major gangs operating in New Rochelle including The Bloods, Crips, Sureños/Sur13, and La Raza. Not on the map but reported to be operating in New Rochelle were Mara Salvatrucha/MS-13 and the Latin Kings. These are some of the most violent gangs in the United States.
A former IT staffer working for the City of New Rochelle, a member of the Latin Kings, was arrested after he sold MDMA to undercover investigators working for the Westchester County District Attorney.
In surveys conducted within the New Rochelle school district involving thousands of students, over 500 students said they had been involved in a gang.
Carroll said he wanted to meet to ask Rose and Conybeare to explain themselves.
"Why do you keep doing that?" Carroll says he asked the two journalists.
Sources at News 12, familiar with the meeting, say there was resentment towards New Rochelle officials for pressuring them to alter their news coverage with the result that News 12 pulled back from reporting news about New Rochelle. That policy has since been relaxed.
Carroll went on to describe his own practice of manipulating news coverage by leaking stories to a local reporter in order to get better coverage on other stories and have leverage if his paper ran a story Carroll did not like.
"We had a guy here, I used to give him heads up on stories before I gave it to the news because he was the local guy," said Carroll.
"If I was going to do a drug raid the next day I gave him the heads up to be ready, then I would tell him what happened so he got it first because we felt we owed it to the local paper to get a good story and when he sometimes printed something
we would call and say "what he hell's the story here".