The Washington Post
A good article could have been great
As a former attorney with the Justice Department’s civil rights division criminal section, I found that the Feb. 22 front-page article “In police reports, early claims often misleading,” on how initial police reports are not fully accurate, in part because of passive language, hit home and raised important issues.
Yes, initial reports are often written to avoid casting blame on the very police officers writing the reports (who could be surprised by that?). And, yes, active voice will be clearer, particularly as to the identity of the actors. But come on. Don’t cavil that the report relating to Breonna Taylor’s death listed her injuries as “none,” when that mistake was obviously akin to a typo. With the unfortunate victim pronounced dead on the scene, there couldn’t have been a motive to deceive. Dredging up silly examples demeaned the overall credibility of the article.