Bevin says vandalism at newspaper ‘irresponsible and inappropriate’

Gov. Bevin on Herald-Leader building vandalism

Kentucky governor Matt Bevin comments on vandalism at the Herald-Leader building over Memorial day weekend.
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Kentucky governor Matt Bevin comments on vandalism at the Herald-Leader building over Memorial day weekend.

Gov. Matt Bevin on Tuesday said that weekend vandalism at the Herald-Leader building and a bomb threat at a newspaper plant in London were “irresponsible and inappropriate” and that those responsible should be held accountable.

Bevin addressed the cases while taking questions after an economic development announcement in Louisville.

“It’s irresponsible and inappropriate,” he said, referencing several shattered windows at the Herald-Leader and a bogus bomb threat to a newspaper printing plant in London.

“Any kind of behavior of that sort against any individual or an organization is wrong. Period,” Bevin said. “But let’s get the facts before we overreact. Too often there is a lot of innuendo and hypothesis and people start to react to that.”

Bevin, who has been critical of coverage by the Herald-Leader and the Courier-Journal of Louisville in the last week, added: “We should find out who is responsible and they should be held accountable for it.”

On Tuesday, Lexington police said a detective has been assigned to investigate damage to the Herald-Leader building.

Sunday morning, several windows were shattered at the main office of the Herald-Leader in downtown Lexington. Exterior windows were damaged on the first-, second- and third-level banks of windows of the press room on the Midland Avenue side of the building. The Herald-Leader filed a damage report Monday, and no one was injured.

Brenna Angel, public information officer for Lexington police, said it’s early in the investigation and no one has been connected to the case. Angel said the damage was consistent with small-caliber bullets, possibly including those from a BB gun or air rifle. She said police had found no shell casings or bullet fragments.

After the report of the building damage, Publisher Rufus M. Friday said the Herald-Leader was taking immediate steps to shore up the damaged windows and increase security along Midland Avenue, where there already are security cameras.

“The safety and security of our employees is paramount,” Friday said.

Angel said there have been incidents in the last month of windows being shot out with pellet or BB guns on a school bus, a transit bus and at an elementary school in Lexington. It was too early to say whether those might be related to the damage at the Herald-Leader.

At a press briefing in Washington on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked about the vandalism at the Herald-Leader and a case in Montana last week of a congressional candidate being charged with assaulting a reporter on the eve of a special election.

“We’ll take a stance against violence against any individual,” Spicer said.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear also was asked about the incident. “The press, like everybody else in Kentucky, deserves to be safe in doing their jobs,” he said. “And again, we as public officials need to make sure that we don’t do anything to create the type of environment where that wouldn’t be the case.”