CBS Misidentified Escape Artist, Man Claims
(CN) - While reporting on a police suspect's escape from custody, a CBS affiliate repeatedly broadcast a photo of someone with a similar name, the victim of the error claims in court.
Christopher William Ghrist says his life turned upside down when Pennsylvania State Police arrested Christopher Wayne Ghrist on Oct. 15, 2011, for multiple drug charges and other criminal offenses. When the suspect escaped police custody during a bathroom break, CBS affiliate KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh got a picture of the plaintiff and published it online and during a television broadcast for the next three days, according to the complaint in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.
"Every other news broadcasting station correctly published the photo of Christopher Wayne Ghrist in the story(s) accompanying Christopher Wayne Ghrist's felonious criminal actions," the complaint states.
KDKA-TV, however, allegedly "falsely communicated that plaintiff is a felonious drug offender who committed felony evasion, and subsequently caused a multi-county and multi-state manhunt and was apprehended in Georgia carrying and concealing a loaded firearm on his person along with two loaded magazines which placed the plaintiff in a false light."
Ghrist says that, after his picture was broadcast, he received more than 60 text messages, 50 phone calls and several social media messages from family members, his landlord, his children, girlfriend, friends, employers and friends.
He also says his ex-girlfriend removed her child from his custody the night she saw his picture broadcast.
Ghrist allegedly contacted the station that night, but it continued to publish the incorrect photo.
Christopher Wayne Ghrist reportedly escaped police custody by running through lobby, across a parking lot and into the nearby woods. He was arrested in Georgia on Oct. 17, 2011, after a multistate manhunt.
KDKA-TV did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday.
The plaintiff seeks damages from the station for false light invasion of privacy. He is represented by Joseph Gaydos.