Civil Liberties, El Paso County, Featured, Original Report, Red Flag bill, Sherrie Peif, Weld County

Weld County Sheriff calls 60 Minutes’ reporting on Colorado’s Red Flag law “lazy”

GREELEY — Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams said reporting work by 60 Minutes producers and correspondent Scott Pelley surrounding his and other Colorado Sheriffs’ opposition to a Red Flag law taking effect Jan. 1 was lazy, and the content of the episode that aired Sunday night was not what they originally portrayed to him it would be.

Sheriff Steve Reams

Reams’ remarks were first reported by 1310 KFKA radio personality Gail Fallen (available here). In Fallen’s interview, Reams talks about the 60 Minutes episode and where he stands today on the Red Flag law moving forward.

Reams told Complete Colorado it didn’t take long for him to realize that the way they initially sold the story to both he and El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder was not how it was going to “shake out.”

“Initially when they came out to visit, the angle of the story was supposed to be how Colorado’s Red Flag law was different than every other state and that was truly why so much law enforcement pushback occurred,” Reams said. “They missed what the real story could have and should have been.”

Reams said producers came to Colorado twice. When he met with producers the first time, there was no indication the story was going in any different direction, Reams said.

El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder

“Then when we sat down with Scott Pelley and started doing the actual interview, that’s when I realized, yeah, this is probably not going to go the right direction,” Reams said.

Reams said during much of the beginning part of the interview Pelley kept it on point with Colorado’s laws being so different, but there was a pause for a moment, and that’s when things changed.

“He was given some more direction from the producers, and those were the questions that ended up on TV,” Reams said, adding even though he was suspicious about the shift in the questions, he was still surprised by what made the final cut. “I know the footage they had available to them. They largely marginalized Sheriff Elder, who made some great points. It was just another fluff piece for how great Red Flag laws are.”

Reams was frustrated that they made it look like it was more a battle between him and Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, who is supportive of the gun confiscation measure, rather than a law so many sheriffs believe has gone far beyond any others like it across the U.S.

Scott Pelley

“They passed a law in Colorado that has all kinds of constitutional issues,” he said.

Reams said when he decided to come out against the Red Flag law, he would never turn down an interview because he wants to keep the discussion on the law in the forefront. However, after it becomes law on Jan. 1, he is likely to change his perspective, thanks to the 60 Minutes episode.

“I will probably start declining those interviews,” Reams said. “And I’ve already told 60 Minutes that based on how biased they were, I will not entertain any type of follow up interview with them.”

 

 

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