The Daily Review: Fox News on shooting of Antwon Rose in Pennsylvania
Fox News' Chris Irvine submitted an article about the shooting death of a 17 year old boy in Pennsylvania that was, at best, not ready for prime time. According to the Fox News website, the article was posted "4 hours ago", which would put it at Friday morning on 22 June 2018, but that doesn't seem like a very reliable time stamp.
Teen, 17, shot dead by cop while fleeing traffic stop had empty handgun clip in his pocket
This is how the article opens:
"The 17-year-old boy who was shot dead as he fled an East Pittsburgh police officer had the empty clip of a handgun in his pants pocket, the district attorney has confirmed."
- The article should provide links to previous reporting for additional context.
- Who is the district attorney? Is it a person, or was the confirmation provided through an announcement?
"Antwon Rose was shot three times as he ran away from Officer Michael Rosfeld, 30, following a traffic stop."
"The car Rose was a passenger in had been linked to an earlier drive-by shooting about 13 minutes earlier."
- ...had been linked...That is language that is meant to sound like it means something, but it doesn't. The reader can make several deductions about what it means, but not definitively. At best it's bad research and writing. At worst it's intentionally vague, with nefarious implications.
"Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said earlier this week that the shooter in the drive-by incident fired nine .40 caliber rounds at a 22-year-old victim in another other car. The 20-year-old driver of the vehicle was arrested soon after the crime and has subsequently been released while police are still trying to track down a second passenger."
- ..."another other car..."
- Try making sense of this terrible sentence: "The 20-year-old driver of the vehicle was arrested soon after the crime and has subsequently been released while police are still trying to track down a second passenger."
- Which vehicle was the "20-year-old driver of the vehicle was arrested" in? The "another other car" or the vehicle that "had been linked" to the shooting?
- The 20-year-old driver "was arrested soon after the crime and has subsequently been released while police are still trying to track down a second passenger." Was he arrested at the same traffic stop from which Antwon Rose allegedly fled? Why was the driver released?
Stephen Zappala Jr, the Allegheny County district attorney, confirmed to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Rose was not armed at the time of the fatal shooting but he was carrying an empty handgun clip.
- Is this the district attorney referred to in the opening of the article?
"He also said that some of the witnesses to the shooting are not cooperating with police, which he said is essential to the investigation."
"Attorney Fred Rabner, who is representing Rose’s family, called the shooting “yet another senseless act of violence” as he dismissed the relevance of the empty clip or the fact there were two guns found inside the car."
- The information about the two guns found in the car comes out of nowhere here. It may have been mentioned in previous reporting, but if you're going to introduce it in this manner you need to provide additional details or context. I think doing it this way subtly implies that Rose was involved in criminal activity. That may ultimately be the case, but we can't tell that from the information provided. It also implies that the police factored that information into their decision-making. Perhaps they did. Again, we can't know from the information provided.
“None of [that] would play into the evaluation as to whether this was a reasonable action by the police officer, or a good shoot,” he said. “[Rose] is running away, empty-handed and he is shot in the back. Period.”
- Irvine does a good job here of including statements from the defense.
Rosfeld, a Penn State University graduate, was hired by East Pittsburgh police in May and had been patrolling the borough since then, but was only formally sworn in at a council meeting on Tuesday, just hours before he shot Rose.
- ...a Penn State University graduate... Why is this relevant?
The high school honor student’s shooting has prompted two nights of demonstrations, with hundreds of protesters demanding justice.
- I would suggest including Rose's name in the sentence mentioning "the high school honor student's shooting..." [I have not included the full text of the article. I think it's clear from the context who the honor student is, but it's poorly written and seems to disassociate the accomplishment or the descriptor from the person. The police officer is directly linked to a university and relevant work experience. This description of Rose's background should be handled the same way.
The crowd blocked Interstate Highway 376 in the city, chanting slogans including: “No justice, no peace.”
- I have shot photos at a lot of protests, and I have heard a variation of that slogan many times. The full version I have heard is "No justice, no peace, know justice, know peace." I'm curious if that's the version they were chanting.
"Under Pennsylvania law, there are circumstances that permit officers to use lethal force on a fleeing suspect. It is allowed to prevent death or serious injury to an officer or another person or if the suspect has used or threatened violence or possesses a lethal weapon."
Verdict: This article was bad. It should have been delayed until additional details could be provided. But even that would not solve a lot of the structural problems and confusing wording.