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Jun 2012
USC journalist maligns LAPD detectives

One would expect a news story questioning the integrity of hard working LAPD detectives to be backed by thorough reporting and years of experience investigating shootings and murders. But none of these things are evident in “New Details In Shooting Case Linked To USC Murders Point To Lax Investigation,” by USC Neon Tommy journalist Catherine Green. If anything is “lax,” it’s her reporting.

Ms. Green’s sensationalistic, innuendo-filled story suggests LAPD detectives could have prevented the April 11 murders of USC graduate students Wu Ying and Qu Ming. According to her story, a key witness was able to identify prime suspect Bryan Barnes and his accused accomplice Javier Bolden from a Feb. 12 crime, when they allegedly opened fire at a party. Green relies heavily on a search warrant contained in court documents to malign the LAPD.

Lost on this reporter is the purpose of search warrant affidavits, which is to demonstrate probable cause to a judge in order to authorize a police search. Just as a news story cannot include every single word uttered by people the reporter interviewed, the search warrant seeks to inform the judge of only the most relevant facts so the court can make an informed decision based on the information provided by police.

Green’s reporting fails to consider the fact that a total of 262 people were shot in the Department’s South Bureau in the time period examined. Every one of these shootings has to be investigated, and obviously, detectives must conduct multiple investigations at the same time. Drawing conclusions about the depth and adequacy of any one of these investigations based on summaries of parts of the investigations drawn from a search warrant is lazy, superficial reporting. The full depth of the investigation will be revealed by the accompanying police reports and courtroom testimony, which may not provide the headline or instant judgment a reporter might desire, but will provide the truth.

While Ms. Green seeks headlines in her rush to judgment of multiple police investigations based on a single document, we believe it’s more fair and accurate to allow the entire story to unfold before judging the performance of detectives in this case.



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