Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has a history of troubling behavior. Problems erupted again last weekend, when he allegedly struck his girlfriend, Colleen Crowley and claimed that he was going to kill himself. Crowley said she jumped out of his car because she was afraid for her life. No charges were filed, but the NFL is investigating.
If you want to write better police reports, you need to read the official account of what happened between Manziel and Crowley. This is an exceptionally well-written report. It is efficient, factual and – best of all – free of police jargon. The style is confident and professional.
There are a few places where the report could be more concise and objective. For example:
As our investigation continued, Colleen seemed increasingly uncooperative, stating that she did not want to answer any more questions, did not want to fill out a statement or make a report, and did not want officers to photograph her or any of her injuries.
The details here are excellent, painting a clear picture of what Colleen was doing. If I were the officer’s supervisor, I would recommend deleting “Colleen seemed increasingly uncooperative.” It’s a judgment call – and it doesn’t add anything useful to the report. Anyone reading about Colleen’s actions (refusing to fill out a statement or make a report, and insisting that officers not photograph her injuries) could see that Colleen was not cooperating.
Another problem is that Manziel’s name (Jonathan) is misspelled in the report.
On the whole, though, this is an excellent example of modern police writing.
Update: A a judge has signed a protective order instructing Manziel to stay away from Crowley for two years and to pay her legal fees worth $12,000. Click here to read the story.
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