The Louis Tomlinson Police Report

Louis Tomlinson is an English singer-songwriter and actor. On March 3 he was arrested on suspicion of battery over allegations that he attacked a paparazzi photographer and his girlfriend. You can read about the incident, view video coverage, and examine the police report at this link:

The report, written by an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department, is exceptionally well written – and worth reading. (There are a few typos, probably due to the time pressure and the length of the report.) Three features especially impressed me:

1.  The officer used active voice throughout the report. (Most officers lapse into passive voice at the end of a police report.)

I then placed Tomlinson under arrest for 243(a)PC.  ACTIVE VOICE

Officer Chen (ID#15054) took several digital photos of the victim’s injury.  ACTIVE VOICE

If questions come up in a court hearing, it will be easy to determine who made the arrest and who took the photos. Many reports omit this useful information. They state only that the suspect “was arrested” (who made the arrest?) and “photos were taken” (by whom?).

2.  The report uses however correctly. Many people mistakenly think that two sentences can be joined with a comma and the word however. Not true! You need a period or a semicolon. 

A portion of incident was recorded by American Airline Security Camera; however, we were unable to review it because it was not located at 400 World Way.  CORRECT

3.  I’m especially impressed by the efficient way the interviews were recorded. Here’s a sample. Notice there’s no unnecessary repetition of “she stated,” “she stated,” “she stated”:

I interviewed W-2 (LYONS, ARLETT) who said the substantial following. She was working as cashier for Starbuck’s. She saw LARSEN takes pictures of TOMLINSON and CALDER. TOMLINSON had his hand out in front of his face to block the camera. Ho then grabbed LARSEN’s leg and throw LARSEN to the ground. At the same time, CALDER tried to walk out from the terminal. However, suddenly CALDER came over and attacked BECERRA HERRERA, ANA (who was sitting on the chair). LYONS believed BECERRA HERRERA was trying to film CALDER. LYONS saw CALDER punched BECERRA HERRERA.

Would I recommend some changes? Yes, even though this is such a superior report.

  1.  There’s no need to write the names in reverse order: Tomlinson, Louis and Calder, Eleanor. The only time you need to reverse names is when you’re making a list in alphabetical order.
  2. I wondered why the witnesses and victims were labeled (W-1, W-2, Vict-1, Vict-2). In my experience, these labels are needed only when real names are redacted from a police report.
  3. The phrase “substantial following” that introduces each interview is awkward and confusing:

I interviewed W-2 (LYONS, ARLETT) who said the substantial following:  AWKWARD

This sentence is more straightforward:

I interviewed witness ARLETT LYONS, who said:   BETTER

Overall, however, this is an impressive police report.

              Louis Tomlinson



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