Anna Prasomphol speaks out about local media coverage of Amy Senser hit-and-run

Categories: Media beefs
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Anna Prasomphol, owner of True Thai restaurant, says Phanthavong was her best friend.
Amy Senser's hit-and-run accident has been ruled "accidental" by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner. But Anna Prasomphol, owner of True Thai restaurant where Anousone Phanthavong was the head chef, doesn't think there's anything accidental about the way local media has covered the story.

Prasomphol spoke to City Pages about Phanthavong, the Op-Ed piece she submitted to the Star Tribune, and other coverage of the case, which she feels has been too sympathetic to the Senser family.

Obviously upset, and often flustered as she spoke in English, her second language, Prasomphol said she's the only public advocate the Phanthavongs have.

"There's no one to talk for the family," she said. "Everybody else -- the Senser famliy has a lot of people, friends in the media. And [Phanthavong] basically has just me."

Prasomphol repeatedly described Phanthavong, whom she calls by the nickname "Ped," as her "best friend," and said he was a great chef for True Thai, where he worked for more than 10 years.

"I have, like, 50 awards -- Best Thai, Best Thai, Best Thai," she said. "All of that is because of Ped. Right now, True Thai is True Thai because of Ped. "

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MPR's Bob Collins responded to Prasomphol's criticism on his blog.
Prasomphol first raised the issue of a Senser-friendly media in an Op-Ed piece she submitted to the Star Tribune last week, criticizing WCCO's Esme Murphy, MPR's Bob Collins, and the Star Tribune columnist Gail Rosenblum for their coverage. All three journalists have called for patience in allowing the legal system to run its course.

Prasomphol's patience has run out, as she wrote:

I miss my friend Ped, and I am angry that the woman who admitted to driving the Mercedes SUV that dragged him forty feet up an off-ramp still has her drivers license, and is still free to go about living her life.
Yesterday, Bob Collins took to his blog to respond, writing that he was sympathetic to Prasomphol's feelings, and that he'd simply been writing "on behalf of the investigatory process and, ultimately, the judicial process." Collins said journalists have an obligation to follow the story objectively, and wait for the full truth to come out:

In journalism, there are only 6 elements to any story: Who, what, why, when, where, and how. Whatever action is eventually taken against Mrs. Senser will depend on the "why," the one question for which we do not yet have an answer. In the absence of an answer to any of those questions, we're not ethically licensed to make them up.
Prasomphol says she's not asking for anyone to make up answers, only to report the harsh truths that have come out in the case, however badly they reflect on Amy Senser, wife of restaurant owner and former Vikings tight end Joe Senser.

"I feel like [Collins] is not being tough on the Senser family," she said. "[Collins] was saying, 'this is the proper way to do it.' To me, he's not being tough on the [Senser] family. What else do you need? There's blood on the hood, the head of the Mercedes came off. The lady took off, and let my best friend die on the side of the road."

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Prasomphol says Amy Senser and her family have gotten favorable treatment in the media.
In an interview with City Pages, Star Tribune opinions editor Scott Gillespie refuted the notion that the paper had rejected Prasomphol's column, which she posted on  her own blog after not getting a response. Gillespie said the paper was still considering running Prasomphol's piece, though he had concerns about the length, and said he'd want to discuss some parts of what she'd written.

Any of that would be fine with Prasomphol, who said she'd be willing to modify her piece so long as she could get the Phanthavongs' side of the story in print.

Prasomphol said the Phanthavong family is grieving, and in shock. She said they're confused and frustrated by the American legal system and concepts like the Fifth Amendment. Prasomphol said she's heard and read "so many" comments describing the Phanthavongs as an "immigrant family."

"People," she said, "look at them as 'just another immigrant family.' I feel like I'm obligated to do this, to speak out for him, as his employer, as his best friend."

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16 comments
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Adj
Adj

Adj say Aimee NOsenser big hippocrit

1cynic
1cynic

the media is good to the pretty lady - they sell advertising to busineses

David Koski
David Koski

How long does it take for oxycontin and other medications to be untraceable in the body?  Probably over a week or about as long as it took for the Sensers to come forward.  There is no problem with speculation and accusation in the vacuum created by the handling of this crime.  She left the scene, he may have survived.  No way should the argument be that he would have died anyway.  SHE HIT HIM AND SHE LEFT HIM TO DIE.  Anyway, Collins is a two-faced equivocating turd and he knows it.

timj
timj

 "In an interview with City Pages, Star Tribune opinions editor Scott Gillespie refuted the notion that the paper had rejected Prasomphol's column, which she posted on  her own blog after not getting a response."I assume you mean Gillespie "rebutted," the notion; or are you prepared to assert he proved Prasomphol wrong? Collins has a pretty reductionist view of things and apparently thinks all the questions about the incident have been answered except one.... must be cool to be so omniscient with such little work.  One big question still is when... when did the victim die, how long after he was hit and could a collision that was a hit without being a run have ended with him living by getting assistance from the driver? Why doesn't Collins apply himself to that question and find out if Senser's fleeing the scene perhaps led to the victim dying alone on the street.

Mn Voter
Mn Voter

Good thing she wasn't driving her family home after church and had the brakes fail. My goodness, she would have gone to jail already and been all over the news. Boycott Senser's, WCCO, NPR and all the media who are racists. We have two legal systems in Minneapolis - one for the RICH people and one for the working class. 

Anna Prasomphol keep speaking for "Ped". You have support all across minnesota from more angels then you will ever know. God bless you.

Mudkills
Mudkills

If you hit someone with your car, drive off and they DIE, you go to jail. End of story. What a horrid bitch.

mars0053
mars0053

I agree!! There is no question in my mind that had this accident happened in reverse - Phanthavong had HIT AND RUN Ms. Senser on the side of a road and killed her - he would be sitting in jail right now. I think Ms. Senser should be ashamed of herself - my 1st thought is that she had been drinking and if she waited just long enough to turn herself in there would be no way to prove that she had been. I could really give a sh@* if she is Joe Senser's wife or not - treat her like every other criminal who performs a hit and run and throw her a** in jail!

italianVortex
italianVortex

Who the hell is Joe Senser?

It is definitely a good idea to have all of the evidence before they prosecute, but at the same time since this is so publicised and given the fact that a ruling in any case in a court of law can be referenced in another, if she gets off for certain reasons then this may be more appealing for people to leave the scene of an accident/crime if they were in the same situation. Kind of important in that way they have conclusive evidence to seal this case.

Albatross
Albatross

And the story "Lawyers get hit-and-runs off fast track" (http://www.startribune.com/loc... ) is basically celebrating the ability of those who can afford a lawyer to avoid justice versus those who cannot. Yay unequal justice under the law!

Kp8311
Kp8311

Chapter Title: TRAFFIC REGULATIONS Section: 169.09 <edited> Subd. 3. Driver to give information. (a) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury to or death of any person, or damage to any vehicle which is driven or attended by any person, shall stop and give the driver's name, address, date of birth and the registration number of the vehicle being driven, and shall, upon request and if available, exhibit the driver's license or permit to drive to the person struck or the driver or occupant of or person attending any vehicle collided with. The driver also shall give the information and upon request exhibit the license or permit to any police officer at the scene of the accident or who is investigating the accident. The driver shall render reasonable assistance to any person injured in the accident.

Mr. Collins: the 'why' you are worried about is a very minor point in this case that can be determined while Mrs. Senson is behind bars awaiting her maximum hit and run penalty of 3 years in jail and/or $5,000 fine.</edited>

Not  A Lawyer
Not A Lawyer

Right, because we all *know* shes guilty!  Why bother with due process and a trial, just lock her up and presume she's guilty until she can prove otherwise.  It's funny, when the government does that, people are outraged but when they don't do it people are outraged.  As much as everybody doesn't like it, Mrs. Senser was smart enough to get a lawyer and not initially incriminate herself.  Because of that she is not in jail and now the police and prosecutors actually have to prove that she is guilty of a crime, which is MUCH harder when someone doesn't confess to it.  Until they are confident they can do that, they will not arrest her.  As far at this being a race thing just take a look at how long in takes the system (cops, prosecutors) to investigate and arrest a suspect in some of the murders commented around here.  Those things don't happen overnight either a lot of the times, so quit bitching about it until they actually make a charging decision.

Not a Lawyer Either
Not a Lawyer Either

You aren't a lawyer but I bet you are white.  In the minority communities people are locked up based on a lot less than a bloody car hood and facts that she was at the scene when the hit occurred.  Often time suspicion and circumstantial evidence are enough.  This is absolutely a race thing.

mars0053
mars0053

Smart enough to get a lawyer?? How about admitting you have committed a crime and suffering the consequences of that crime. Not being selfish and making sure she "has all of her ducks in a row". She KILLED someone, plain and simple,

Roe Pressley
Roe Pressley

Then there's vehicular homicide on top of that, hopefully.

Marie Porter
Marie Porter

I think the key point in this case is that everything took an AWFUL lot longer to run its course, than it would for any "Joe Anybody" that has committed the same crime. Given the same evidence and knowledge regarding any other crime, the police would NOT have waited so long to act on it.

Had the victim been a young blonde girl, there is NO WAY we would have had to read about how the police know whose car did it, and then watch them NOT arrest them right away.

Marie Porter
Marie Porter

I love how when Todd Stone (Biz editor at the Strib) tweeted the news that she'd been charged, he prefaced it with "Not the kind of case you want to report."

Interesting, because if it was an Asian man who'd hit/run and killed a rich white wife of a celebrity... the press would be ALL OVER reporting that the murderer had been brought to justice. You know, FOLLOWING the witch hunt that would have began immediately following the news that they knew which Asian man did it.

This whole thing makes me sick.

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