Chattanooga Times Free Press executive editor J. Todd Foster wrote in an April 29 staff memo:
I can’t say enough about the extraordinary journalism this newsroom has practiced the past two days. Contributions came from all over the room and every section. Some of our journalists had to dodge downed power lines, frog-strangling rains and Nazi cops to gather the news. I’ve heard praise from local readers and from journalists across the country.
Attached are letters written by our attorney, Bud Jackson, to police officials who threatened two of our journalists with arrest. Keep up the great work and know this organization has your back.”
Law enforcement officials objected to Foster’s memo, of course. The local sheriff called it “way out of line,” and the Chattanooga’s police chief said “it’s irresponsible and very unprofessional to be name calling using highly inflammatory terms against officers and emergency personnel who were just doing their jobs.”
Foster also used the term on his Facebook wall and was questioned by one of his friends:
Ray Minner Todd . . . I understand how you feel, but you are at least a semi-public figure. Do you REALLY want to be on record as the publisher of the TFP using the term “Nazi cops?”
April 29 at 4:08pm
J Todd Foster @Ray: You are right. I retract the word Nazi and substitute this phrase, “police officers whom our attorneys allege behaved unlawfully and unconstitutionally.”
April 29 at 4:39pm
Jon Broadbooks Oh, that’s much better then. Or, jack-booted, badge-heavy public safety officials works well, too.
April 29 at 4:41pm
J Todd Foster For the record, the journalists were threatened with arrest for being on public property. Both were petite women interns.
April 29 at 4:53pm