Virginia Beach leaders strike back at Fox's Bill O'Reilly
City leaders launched a counterattack against Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly on Thursday, calling him a "TV show gadfly" after he blamed the city in the deaths of two teenagers and accused local leaders of providing sanctuary to illegal immigrants.
Faced with angry e-mails and a potential black eye just before the start of tourist season, city officials called a news conference to defend themselves in a case that is drawing national attention.
City leaders tried to shift the debate about the recent deaths of Alison Kunhardt, 17, and Tessa Tranchant, 16, away from illegal immigration and onto drunken driving. Alfredo Ramos, 22, the man charged with aggravated involuntary manslaughter in their deaths, had a record of three alcohol-related convictions and was in the country illegally.
...Ramos, born in Mexico, has been in the United States for seven years. He is in jail without bond and faces a maximum of 40 years in prison if convicted.
Ramos' case was the lead story on "The O'Reilly Factor" on Wednesday night.
"Ramos was a known scofflaw," O'Reilly told David Kunhardt, Alison's father. "The authorities in your town would not obey the law, defied the law of the land, and somebody has to be held accountable."
O'Reilly added that local authorities, including Mayor Meyera Oberndorf and the Chesapeake judge who heard Ramos' misdemeanor DUI case, are villains.
O'Reilly was castigating a Virginia Beach policy that forbids patrol officers from asking the immigration status of defendants charged with misdemeanors.
Hispanic DWIs Rooted in Immigrants' Culture
California Police to Now Look at Suspect Status