The Facts About Police Shootings Must Be Triple-Checked And Must Be Right

What were the races of those involved – both the police and the person who was shot? Was the suspect armed? How many shots were fired? What happened before and after the shooting? What charges, if any, were filed? If there was a conviction, what was the officer found guilty of doing? (As we’ve noted, “murder” is not the same as “manslaughter.”) What still isn’t known?

Those are all key facts about the police shootings we cover and we need to make sure we’re getting them right every time. In recent days we haven’t always done that. Do not assume you remember the details. You may be confusing one case with another. Go back and triple-check everything before filing. Don’t base your sourcing on stories that came out immediately after a shooting. The facts may have changed since then.

Obviously, all stories should be thoroughly fact-checked before filing. But the number of stories about police shootings means the potential for mixing up details is especially high. Please get them right.

Related notes:

- Do not use the phrase “officer-involved shooting.” As we’ve said, it’s a euphemism.

- An 18- or 19-year-old should not be referred to as a “teenager.” That is a young adult.

(“Memmos;” March 28, 2018)

March 28, 2018

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