The Whole Truth Project Looks At The Anthony Porter Case - Part III - Why Did David Protess And The Northwestern Students Leave Key Facts Out Of The William Taylor Affidavit?
One of the eyewitnesses who identified Anthony Porter as the person who shot and killed Jerry Hillard and Marilyn Green was then thirty-nine year old William Taylor. At Porter's criminal trial, Taylor testified that he went for a late night swim at Washington Park and as he was climbing out of the pool he saw Porter shoot and kill Hillard and Green. As you recall from our earlier blog posts, Porter denied being in Washington Park at the time of the shootings and claimed to be drinking with some of his buddies.
Once David Protess and the Medill Journalism students got involved in Porter's case, they turned their attention to Taylor. On November 14, 1998, journalism student Tom McCann placed a telephone call to Taylor. Taylor told McCann that "There is no doubt in my mind that this man (Porter) is guilty. I will not be happy until Porter is finally executed." Taylor also told McCann he "didn't want to talk about this case anymore."
Not satisfied, on December 11, 1998, McCann and private investigator Paul Ciolino made an unannounced visit to Taylor's house and the two are alleged to have played good cop bad cop with Taylor. After meeting with Taylor Ciolino wrote out an "affidavit" for Taylor to sign that stated Taylor: (1) was in Washington Park on the night of the shootings, (2) did not see Porter shoot anyone, (3) never saw Porter with a gun and (4) did not see who shot the victims."
What is puzzling is what McCann and Ciolino failed to put in the affidavit. What they left out is that Taylor also told them that he had seen Porter in the pool area of Washington Park the night of the shootings. McCann admitted this key omission during subsequent grand jury testimony:
ASA Gainer: That was not included in the affidavit, that he (Taylor) saw Anthony Porter in the park that night, right?
This omission was obviously very significant and very intentional, as Porter had denied being in Washington Park near the time of the shootings. If Porter really was in the park at the time of the shootings, that pretty much killed his whole alibi story.
We thought Medill Journalism students were seeking the truth, the facts, whatever they may be.
Isn't that what a journalist does?
Does a journalist advocate for one side, and slant the facts for one side in a misleading way?
Why did David Protess let his journalism students submit the Taylor affidavit with this key omission?
This question has never been answered. . .