Back in September, a local weirdo named Patrick Roth made the news, after he shared a now-deleted YouTube video where he toyed with and taunted an OKC cop that he claimed was "sleeping on the job."
Naturally, our crack local news teams jumped all over the story.
Unlike us, the local media didn't seem to care or notice that Ricketts was technically off-duty and working a private security gig with his wife in the car, or that Patrick Roth is a well-know and completely unreliable nutjob YouTube provocateur who routinely harasses government workers and the general public by filming them without consent. The local media had clickable "COP SLEEPING ON JOB!!! OMG!!!" headline and ran with it, leading to so much attention and controversy that the OKCPD had to organize a press conference to address the accusations.
Well, it now looks like the media may have run a little too fast.
On November 4th, Ricketts and his wife filed a defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and invasion of privacy lawsuit in Oklahoma County against Roth, one of his cohorts, and three local media outlets – KFOR Channel 4, KWTV Channel 9 and The Oklahoman.
In the lawsuit, the couple claims all defendants knowingly published false information and statements about the couple and that "slander and lies" have caused more than $75,000 in emotional distress and economic damages.
You can view the entire lawsuit below:
Please remember – My knowledge of defamation is limited to the times we've been unsuccessfully sued by local weathermen, so I'm not a true expert on the topic. That being said, I don't think the couple has a very strong case, especially against the local media outlets.
Sure, our beloved local media try-hards got some of the initial facts wrong in their rush to get pageviews – and News 9 still has a video online of Ricketts "Apparently Sleeping On The Job" – but that doesn't mean the news outlets were negligent or set out to defame him. They were simply doing their job in their typical shitty way.
And, although I wish the couple the best of luck, I doubt they'll have much luck against Patrick Roth either. He actually shared a video talking to a legal mind about the case:
Even if the case goes to court and the Ricketts' win, good luck assessing and collecting damages from that yahoo.
Anyway, I'm getting a bit sleepy now and could use a nap, so I guess we'll continue to follow this case and provide updates when or if they ever happen. If you're a defamation attorney who specializes in defamation law, please leave a comment and let us know what will happen.