Indiana governor’s counsel sends cease and desist letters regarding coverage of Amazon worker’s death

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INDIANAPOLIS — Governor Eric J. Holcomb offered the following statement after his General Counsel Joe Heerens sent the attached cease and desist letters to “Reveal” and The Indianapolis Star after they wrote about Indiana officials’ alleged involvement in an investigation of a worker’s death at an Amazon facility.

“While filing a cease and desist letter is an unusual step to take, I’m compelled to do so. I will not let the false accusations about Indiana state employees and me stand, as first published by California-based Reveal and followed soon thereafter by the Indianapolis Star. Unfortunately, other news organizations in our state have either published the same story in its entirety or other versions unchecked for truth and accuracy, further perpetuating a false narrative.

“We have worked hard over the years in Indiana to create an environment for our citizens, state employees, and businesses based on accountability and fairness, where the rules are fairly applied to all based in truth.

“There are many good, tough, and thorough reporters in the Fourth Estate who seek to educate by way of the truth. Unfortunately, when Reveal and the Indy Star worked in conjunction to publish a false story, it tarnishes journalistic integrity across the board and the public loses faith in where they get their news.”

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody issued the following statement earlier this week:

“If Governor Holcomb or the administration he leads knowingly looked the other way when a man died on the job in a calculated effort to curry favor, it would be a disturbing abandonment of their responsibility to keep workers safe. Holcomb and his administration enforce the laws. Their job is to protect workers, not political interests. The governor owes Hoosiers who put their lives on the line everyday a public explanation of this report and reassurance his administration is looking out for their safety, not big businesses’.”

State Senator Eddie Melton, who is intending to run for governor, had the following comments in a news release:

”The report published yesterday by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting is extremely disturbing. My heart goes out to Phillip Lee Terry’s family as this news reopens past wounds in the process of mourning a loved one. If the allegations in the report are true, I am hard pressed to understand how our governor could cover up a Hoosier’s death in such a manner and subsequently accept a campaign contribution from a company seeking to lay roots in our state.

“Worker safety is of the upmost importance and should not be compromised by any corporation to improve efficiency or their bottom line. A special investigation is needed to confirm what role the governor and his Administration played throughout this process. We must assure Hoosiers that their elected officials will operate in the best interest of the people and not of corporations. As a state, we can attract jobs in alternative ways such as investing in education, infrastructure and public transit; these methods potentially employed by our governor are not the answer.”