Isahak Muse was a vibrant, affectionate young man who was well-liked by his peers. A Deering High School graduate and basketball player, he was shot and killed at age 22 during a family dispute. Beyond that, we knew little about his life.

Some readers objected to what we reported in one of several stories about his death. They said we should have omitted his criminal record and that we should have reported more about his life than that of the man charged with shooting him.

We published several previous stories about the case and included what we could learn about the victim, including the Muslim community’s frustration with what they felt was a slow police response. We did not include Muse’s criminal history in the earlier stories because we wanted to tell a more complete story of his life. We were in touch with his family for weeks, but none of them has been willing to talk to us on the record.

Ultimately, we have an obligation to tell our readers what we know about the victim and the suspect in a case like this. (We also checked the suspect’s criminal record.) One reason to include such information is to make sure the community is informed by facts, not rumors. We heard from readers who claimed Muse had an extensive and violent criminal history. We found those claims to be unsubstantiated.

With all of these readers, we share the goal of complete but racially sensitive news coverage.

Cliff Schechtman

Executive Editor