United States soccer fans are hoping that the US team will win the Women’s World Cup final against Japan this Sunday. All eyes will be on Hope Solo, the goalie who deserves much of the credit for the team’s success.
After the game is over, women’s soccer will drop out of the news until the next soccer season begins – but we’ll continue to hear about Hope Solo because of a domestic violence charge she is fighting. (You can read the story at this link: http://es.pn/1Ju8FBG.)
On June 21, 2014, police were called to the home of Teresa Obert (Solo’s half sister) because of a fight between Solo, Obert, and Obert’s son. (Because he was 17 at the time, his name has not been released.) Obert said that she and Solo had been drinking wine. An argument began between Solo and Obert’s son, and soon it became physical.
According to Obert’s statement, she became involved in the fight, and Solo assaulted her. Obert’s son hit Solo with a wooden broom, which broke. When the fighting continued, Obert’s son grabbed an aluminum mop. Police arrived, and Obert did not use the mop on Solo.
Obert asked the police not to charge Solo, but she was arrested anyway and taken to jail. The officer on duty there reported that she used abusive language against the officers at the jail.
Solo claimed that she suffered a concussion but refused to have her head photographed. Obert and her son agreed to be photographed. The police report says that Obert had a swollen left cheekbone and purplish discoloration in her cheekbone area.
The case against Solo was dismissed by a judge on procedural grounds. There were inconsistencies in the alleged victims’ stories, and the Oberts refused to answer some of the questions about the son’s injuries, citing medical privacy concerns.
Prosecutors have filed an appeal. They will file their argument before July 13. Oral arguments are scheduled for September 11.
The lengthy police report from June 21 will figure importantly in the case. (You can read it at this link: http://ti.me/1KVTt2h.)
The report is an excellent example of professional police writing. It is objective, thorough, and free of police jargon. There is almost no passive voice: Every sentence clearly states who did what. Here’s an example:
After obtaining a statement, I took photographs of and his injuries. ACTIVE VOICE
The detail in the report is especially impressive. For example, instead of saying that Obert’s son seemed to be hurt, the report lists the injuries and the son’s comments:
I observed that X nose and left jawbone area were red. His t-shirt was torn on the left side from underarm area to the bottom seam. He had a bleeding cut on the bottom of his left ear, just above the earlobe. His arms were bright red and had scratch marks on it. He was crying and stated that “we just let her back into our lives.” He further explained that she “always does this.”
This report is an effective model of good police reporting. And the story makes an important point: You never know who will read your reports. The Solo report was obtained and posted by the ESPN sports news network.
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Criminal Justice Report Writing by Jean Reynolds
“It will definitely help you with your writing skills.” – Joseph E. Badger, California Association of Accident Reconstructionists Newsletter