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Los Angeles Times

Marin County, Calif., officials are defending their decision to release graphic details about Robin Williams’ suicide.

They have faced some criticism on social media for a press conference Tuesday in which officials laid out how Williams died and how he was found.

An official with the sheriff’s office said the release of information was required under California public records laws.

“These kinds of cases, whether they garner national attention or not, are very difficult for everyone involved,” Marin County Assistant Deputy Chief Coroner Lt. Keith Boyd said in an email to Fox News. “Frankly, it would have been our personal preference to withhold a lot of what we disclosed … but the California Public Records Act does not give us that kind of latitude.”

At a news conference, Boyd revealed that Williams, 63, used a belt to asphyxiate himself and may have also tried to cut his wrists with a pocket knife.

He then went on to reveal that rigor mortis had already set in by the time Williams’ personal assistant discovered the body in a slightly elevated position.

While the level of detail Boyd presented is routinely available on a coroner’s report for any member of the public to view upon request, it’s not often that authorities discuss them in front of cameras and a podium capped with microphones. The news conference was broadcast on several TV stations and live-tweeted by members of the media, all of which drew the ire of the public.

AFP Photo/Tiziana Fabi

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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