This article recently ran on cleveland.com: “Death of 17-year-old boy in Akron police custody ruled suicide, medical examiner says.”
The writer here has a masters degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism.
A good reporter would have done more than transcribing the police press release. To wit:
- “Leeser declined to discuss the department’s polices and procedures for patting down suspects…” Departmental policies are written down and codified and available for public inspection. The reporter is supposed go find out what the policy is.
- Did he ask the medical examiner for the full autopsy report?
- Did he ask the medical examiner to explain in words how they figure the kid shot himself? A normal, plain language, ordinary explanation.
- Did the reporter look at the autopsy photos? Did he see where the bullet entered and exited? Does that information make any sense with the kid being cuffed?
- Did the reporter ask for the name and badge number of the officer who arrested the kid? (The department will refuse to say, but you want it on record that they stonewalled.)
- Was that officer riding with a partner on that shift? Who was the partner? (Same.)
- What are the disciplinary histories of both officers?
- What do the officers say happened? (You know the answer will be “no comment,” but you have to make them say “no comment” instead of letting it slide.)
- Who “found” the kid? Come on.
- How did police first become aware of the shot being fired? How did they respond? There’s probably not much you can do for someone who got a bullet in the back of the head, but did they even try to get emergency medical help?
Long story short, this is a pathetic excuse for “reporting.” You want to now why local commercial media are dying? This is why. There’s no news in the news.