It isn't that the reporter doesn't have the right to report on the rap sheet. She researched the incident and REPORTED what she Found. Her job isn't to be the PR representative for the people who were involved. She reported that there was ongoing trouble with the people involved. There is no breach of professional ethics in this report. It isn't even a matter of bad taste. There WAS previous behavior that had something to do with the accident.
Remember, the driver was already in trouble for a hit and run? So, while he wasn't convicted, it had been less than a month from that charge to this incident. How his life ended goes a long way to show how his actions and his fate were related. It was a long rap sheet. He died in a way that reflected things he had been doing wrong. It would be no less relevant if he had died being shot as an intruder. Because he has a history of breaking and entering too. The rap sheet doesn't tell you if he loved his mother or volunteered at the soup kitchen. It tells you about some of what was wrong with him. It wasn't meant as his obituary. The reporter wasn't making it his obituary. It was a report on how he died and what may have lead up to it. Maybe he was an alter boy. That wouldn't seem relevant to the story.
It also was noteworthy that the other kids had been in similar trouble recently. It wasn't a mean set of lies. It was an unfortunate set of truths. Maybe, rather than wringing your hands and praying for sanctification, it might be time to look honestly at how messed up these people are/were. All the people involved hadn't learned from past mistakes. It could have just as easily involved you or your loved ones. Except you didn't make choices to behave as they did.
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