St. Louis, MO – The organizers of the Annie Malone May Day Parade are accusing the St. Louis media of racism in linking violence to the annual event.
A 17-year-old boy was shot in the abdomen about one half-hour after the parade ended last Sunday.
Board Chairman Richard King called out several local media outlets, most notably the Post Dispatch saying that last weekend's shooting occurred about a half hour after the parade ended, and therefore should not reflect on the parade itself.
"We ran a good parade this past year," said King, "and when there's something that happens nearby there seems to be some willingness to connect those negative activities to our parade."
King said the Post Dispatch does not apply the same implications of violence to other events such as the St. Patrick's or Mardi Gras Parades.
The Annie Malone Children and Family Service Center has organized the parade for close to 100 years.
The Post reports that violence has occurred on or near the parade route in 5 of the last 7 years.
Board member George Montgomery said the coverage was racist, plain and simple.
"This is totally racist. You look at Mardi Gras, some of these other events. You see hooligans up and down downtown," said Montgomery, "but you never hear it in the front page of the Post Dispatch the way we do."
In a statement Post Dispatch Editor Arnie Robbins said that he felt the reporting was 'thoughtful and balanced' and raising issues about violence in our community is not racist.