Thursday, November 19, 2009

Suspect? Suspect, My A**!


What I emailed my reporting students:

I'm sorry. The 'suspect' didn't do it. If the suspect did it, then the suspect isn't a suspect. They don't even *have* a suspect!!!! See, the problem is one of sourcing. The cops don't want to keep saying, "The person who said he was robbed said...." They also don't want to say "the robber," which would suggest they believe the person who reported the robbery. So "suspect" becomes shorthand for "the person who did the robbery if in fact what the person who reported the alleged crime told us is actually true." It's shorthand. But *it's still a stupid use of language*

-----Original Message-----
From: USFconnect Message []
Sent: Thursday, November 19, 2009 8:40 AM

To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Public Safety Bulletin

On Monday, 11/16/09, at approximately 1 pm, a USF student was walking westbound on the north side of Turk St., near the School of Education, when she was approached from behind by an unknown suspect. The suspect pressed an object into her back and demanded the student's money. The student gave him a $20 bill and the suspect fled. The suspect told the victim not to turn around so there is no description of the suspect.

The incident has been reported to the SFPD. USF Public Safety will increase patrol in the area of this incident.

Individuals are reminded to always be aware of their surroundings. Wearing headphones to listen to music and texting or talking on cell phones in public places can be a major distraction. These activities limit a person's ability to remain alert.

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