On May 29, a family was shopping at a dollar store in Phoenix, Arizona. A four-year-old girl allegedly took a doll out without paying for it. A Phoenix police officers is accused of threatening to shoot the children and using excessive force against their parents.
A citizen standing nearby videotaped the encounter on his phone. After the video went public, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said she was “disturbed by the language and actions.”
The police report does not seem to match what actually happened outside the store. Meanwhile, more information about the couple’s background has been found, and a 16-page investigation has been released.
You can learn more and read the police report here: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2019/06/14/phoenix-police-release-report-controversial-response-shoplifting-incident/1461089001/
You can watch the bystander’s video here: https://www.cbsnews.com/video/phoenix-mayor-apologizes-after-controversial-video-shows-police-officers-altercation-with-family/
Our interest here is – of course – in the police report. Most of it is extremely well written. Three features impressed me. The sentence structure is excellent. There’s no jargon – no advised, for example. And the officer correctly used active voice in a sentence about transporting the suspect to jail:
AFTER BOOKING PROCEDURES WERE COMPLETE, OFFICER HERRICHT AND I TRANSPORTED RENITA TO 4TH AVENUE JAIL WITHOUT ANY INCIDENTS.
But there were also two awkward sentences:
RENITA WAS WITH CHRISTINE WHO SHE SUPPOSE TOO TAKE CARE OFF.
N 0527-19 AT 1153 HOURS, OFFICER HERRICHT READ RENITA HER RIGHTS, FOR WHICH IN UNDERSTANDING SHE STATED ‘YEAH!’ RENITA THEN SAID SHE WILL NOT TALK TO OFFICER HERRICHT OF WHAT HAVE OCCURRED AT THE ABOVE STORE AND ASKED FORA LAWYER.
What happened? Was the officer getting tired? Did he run out of time for proofreading?
Every police report is a legal document that reflects on both the police officer and their agency. Always take time to review what you’ve written. Don’t hesitate to ask for input from someone else.