East 55th Street and Grand Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio (courtesy Google Maps)

“Police say the 29-year-old victim was there helping two females change a tire,” fox8.com reports. “A vehicle occupied by several males pulled up, and one of them exited and asked for directions. As the victim provided directions, the suspect  pulled out a handgun and began to rob the victim and the two females. Other passengers in the suspects’ vehicle also exited and participated in the robbery. At some point during the robbery, the victim drew his own weapon, and the victim and suspect exchanged gunfire. The other suspects fled the scene. Police were able to locate three juveniles in the 3800 block of East 55th Street, and they were identified as participants in the robbery. All three were arrested.” Should the Fox News affiliate have reported the race of the females, the good samaritan and the perps? [h/t Jrwmaq]

 

93 Responses to Question of the Day: Should Shooting Reports Include Race?

      • No, but it should include skin color, just like it often includes the color of clothing or vehicles.

        A physical description should be just that; apparent sex/gender (if able to be determined; good luck, nowadays), skin color, hair color (if applicable), eye color (if noted), height, weight, relative thickness and build (thin, fat, average, muscular, starved/gaunt), tattoos (location/size/main color), clothing color and type, weapon color and type, vehicle color and type, etc.

        • The perp’s description, a BIG YES. The victim, unless it is some hate crime issue, not necessary. Not listing the perp’s skin color is really as stupid as this Simpsons quote:

          “This is Papa Bear. Put out an APB for a male suspect, driving a… car of some sort, heading in the direction of… you know, that place that sells chili. Suspect is hatless. Repeat, hatless.”
          — Chief Wiggum, The Simpsons, “Homer’s Triple Bypass”

        • I should clarify: YES, for suspects/perps, as said above. Not necessary for victims, in my opinion.

      • I’m sorry but that is ridiculous. For some reason people have this idea of NPR being the pinnacle of liberal media. This idea is remarkably misinformed and ignorant. NPR does a damn fine job of weeding out partisanship and reporting the facts. Unlike MSNBC and Fox News especially. When the issue was studied NPR listeners were far more educated concerning the facts of current events than MSnbc and Fox News viewers. NPR also tends to have more conservative guests than liberal guests on their programs. For some reason the GOP jumped on NPR because they recieve a modicum of public funding and the simple minded took that to mean they must be super liberal. That is utterly ridiculous. NPR gets the most criticism from liberals because they feel they aren’t liberal enough in their reporting and they don’t attack conservatives. NPR is NOT Air America. They are one of the few news organizations that actually value journalistic integrity and people from all sides of the poltical spectrum listen to their reporting. As far as reporting the race of criminals, they don’t only report if they are white. Another absurd assertion. They report whatever the race is. You have obviously fallen victim to the seperating, anti solidarity, category enforcing, ignorant MSM and government propoganda that attempts to put every thing and every person into a nice neat little box whether it’s liberal, conservative, socialist, capitalist, etc. Any person who makes that ignorant assertion about NPR has obviously never listened to the reporting. You could probably make that assertion about some of MSNBC just as you could make the opposite assertion about Fox news stressing the race of the shooter when they are black. To make a long comment short, get yourhead out of your ignorant partisan ass.

        • Wow. Calm down there 2m. Methinks you might look in the mirror.

          I’ve listened to NPR for years, and spoken to actual producers.
          Its well known that NPR is tilted left, both nationally and locally, more or less so, depending on the area.
          Not as bad as CNN, or worse, MSNBC.

          Yes, they do bring on opposing viewpoints, but often those are subtle setups to advance the agenda, of the local station, to appeal to their subscriber and donor base. Thats nothing new, and to pretend otherwise is to deny reality as categorically as you accuse everyone here, as if its a monolithic group here.

        • O. M. G. There ought to be a significant award of some sort for a statement like this. The Jaw-Droppingest, Stupifyingest, Amazingest, Improbable-est Thing You’ll Read This Month Award. It would take Mark Twain to out-prevaricate the above.

        • reason people have this idea of NPR being the pinnacle of liberal media. This idea is remarkably misinformed and ignorant

          Apparently you’ve forgotten this dinner where NPR senior executives savaged conservatives and the TEA Party no end, and stated how much better liberals were than conservatives.

          http://dailycaller.com/2011/03/08/npr-executives-caught-on-tape-bashing-conservatives-and-tea-party-touting-liberals/

          I remember when all the Clinton cronies were going on trial. The NPR reporters were apoplectic they were getting convicted and sentenced to prison.

          And much of the other programming is quite liberal. Fresh Air with Terry Gross is a great example. Even the Diane Rehm Show. For years they ran the program Day to Day which was a collaboration with the left-wing Slate magazine.

          Yeah, they are real middle-of-the-road. /sarc

        • I think one of the big problems with NPR is they are not really aware of their own bias. When one of their reporters comments on the “lax gun laws” in a state, they are exhibiting the biased opinion that gun laws are needed.

  1. In an aftermath story, I don’t really care. You can usually defer enough just by knowing the part of town. But I’ve seen reports where police are actively looking for a suspect, the news agency provides a hotline for tips, and the report won’t include the race! Don’t you think it would be wise to narrow the search a little?

    • Agreed- If it already happened, doesn’t mean a thing. If a suspect is at large, then it’s important. In that situation, it would just be a descriptor, like “tall” or “tattooed.”

      • If a person is at large and poses a danger to the public then as full a physical description as possible should be publicized including skin color because it is most easily seen at distance and difficult to conceal.

  2. I’m not sure it would add much to the story in this case. If police are still looking for suspects than a description would be necessary but it sounds like all are in custody at this point.

  3. if they have the facts, they should report the facts

    if they have the facts and do not report all the facts they have, they have an agenda.

  4. No. If there was gun-play, just assume “Angry” and “white” until the FBI statistics come out 6 yrs. later refuting it.

    • I am sure the Good Samaritan looked like he could have been Obama’s son (if he had one) and the perps looked like George Zimmerman (chubby hispanic guys in their late 20s).

      • I was thinking the perp probably looked like George W. Bush, because he is an old angry white guy and currently unemployed and isn’t EVERYTHING George’s fault anyway? (Heavy sarcasm with a little LOL) Actually I was reading this and thinking the good samaritan was fixing the tire for 2 ladies thinking he just might get lucky instead of shot. Goes to prove that no good deed goes unpunished.

  5. I’m going to say with no. Not unless it is somehow important to the story. But at the same time I don’t believe in regulating what news is released.

  6. Uh…yes…thats just basic info that should be gathered when conducting a criminal investigation/report. How the heck am I supposed to be on the look out for someone without a description?

  7. The race of a criminal no, not while still being investigated. (sarcasm/on) On the followup they should however include race and weather or not the weapons were legally purchased and if they were members of the NRA, At least the Antis believe that the NRA gives the criminals weapons.(sarcasm/off)

  8. No, the race doesn’t really matter. If it had been included, it would have merely been used to reinforce stereotype, or point out exceptions; neither add value.

    Curious: The article does identify the sex of those involved. Does that matter?

    Meanwhile: Based on the hospital report, it appears that Mr. Victim (yes, we know it’s a he) needs some shot placement practice…

  9. As a police officer, the intentional withholding of suspect information when they are still at large is frustrating. As a citizen, the intentional distortion of racial issues by local media is infuriating. The media’s job used to be reporting the truth- now it is reporting the ‘narrative.’

  10. what is being described is a symptom, it’s like saying there are ONLY 5 Americans with Ebola, no big whoops.
    the root cause abides ,not at Fox News but at 1600 Penn. Ave

    • I’m no fan of the current president, but if you think he alone is the root cause of all the problems we’re having right now, you are a fool. If you think all these problems will go away once he’s out, you’re a bigger fool. And if you think electing another old, wealthy white guy is going to fix anything, you’re the king of fools.

  11. Should Shooting Reports Include Race?

    Most of the time we already know. These shootings aren’t happening in Greenwich, CT or Beverly Hills.

    • Very true. Not comfortable to discuss, but true.

      Working in healthcare security, I can tell you that when I hear that ER is getting a gunshot victim, I pretty much know it won’t be an old, fat white guy. Or any white person, for that matter. We do see white GSW’s, but they are mostly hunting accidents, suicide attempts,”cleaning the gun” incidents and a couple robbery victims or domestic shootings for good measure.

      My favorite white gunshot vic was flown in by helicopter. When the flight crew took him off the chopper I noticed he had a GSW (accidental) really close to his…um… junk. As he’s being wheeled to the elevator he says, “I can’t believe this is the second time I’ve done this!” I did my best to keep a straight face. Now I’m not much for gun control, but some people should give up the guns in the interest of their own health.

  12. Especially in the case of suspects still at large, if race is not specified, we are left to draw our own conclusions.

  13. They should report it if they want to be consistent. Anytime the race thing plays out in a way that supports the narrative the Media is pushing they will make damn sure EVERYONE knows what color the players were.

  14. If they are looking for suspects, then the description of them should be as detailed as possible – otherwise, why not just say “police are looking for some people”?

  15. No. Don’t care. Or at least I shouldnt. Sometimes I’ll be listening to a friend telling a story about a crime or an encounter and I’ll find myself asking “was the guy/girl black?” Then I’ll realize what I’m really asking is “does this story confirm this or that predjudice?”

  16. Shooting reports should either include all of the known facts at the time of the report or nothing. Conjecture or editorial notions if issued at the time of the report should be clearly identified as such. Selection of facts to release or keep quiet about is a form of editorial. If one fact is withheld because of some investigation strategy in progress then the rest of the facts should be withheld until the secret fact no longer needs to be kept secret.

  17. Don’t forget – the media only reports on some crime, not all. Crime does occur in nice areas, although not as often,but uness there is something that plays into media bias or prejudice (or reader interest, the proverbial “if it bleeds, it leads” story), then the media is not going to report on it. the sad part is that usually, if the media does not include race or a known description, it is someone non-white. and try as they might, that means the media has a bias against me as someone, non-white.

    • Ferguson? Is that the case where the unarmed black teenager was killed by a white Hispanic, or a white white? And I can’t wait until they call Obama a white black. Or a black white.

      “Journalists” have all the ethics of used car dealers. Okay, that’s an insult to used car dealers.

  18. Yes. None of that curly short black hair, dreadlocks or “he had a dark complexion” crap. And I have noticed a subtle change at WGN in Chicago, They started using the word “black”. Maybe they got a few complaints form aboriginal people or asian Indians. When I first glanced at the article I thought they were referring to east 55th in Chicago. And yeah the media sure goes out of their way to indict OFWG’s like me…or “white hispanics” who look like Mexicans. A description should be a description.

  19. Call me a cynic, but generally when the article is devoid of pictures and the suspects are referred to as “juveniles” its usually pretty obvious.

    • OK – “you’re a cynic”. However, that does not mean you are wrong – it merely means that you have been exposed to FAR too many stories on the nightly news, which has resulted in your departure from the paths of innocence and unquestioning acceptance of whatever the current progressive narrative may be.

      Hey, call me a cynic …

    • In their rush to make the news PC I believe the unintended consequence is that greater majority of people think the same way too. This is why they should simply report the facts and let it be what it happens to be. My local talking heads often make it very clear, if the guy is white, they make sure to punctuate that the suspect is “WHITE” and if the person is not white, by not saying anything they make it clear as well.

      • Mine too. They kind of speak in code, by what they don’t say. They are eerily consistent across all of the local news channels in my area.

  20. I”m surprised no one has bothered to mention that the two people being helped were “females”. Using “females” instead of “women” makes it sound like you’re a zookeeper talking about animals. Don’t take that as a feminist sentiment, I think it’s exactly the same to refer to “men” as “males”. Running police radio jargon doesn’t make it more professional to me, we’re not police, we’re just news-watchers.

    Aside from making it terribly boring by saying “people”, I guess you could at least be grammatically correct by specifying “men” and “women” from “boys” and “girls”, considering it does make a legal difference for several reasons, one being that actual identities of minors are protected.

    Ideally, the report would specify no characteristics, other than possibly minor/adult if it were pertinent, and then specify “suspect” from “victim”, et cetera. A complete-as-possible description should be mentioned if the suspect was at large, but that seems like common sense. Which I do not normally attribute to news reporters.

    • Well, “female” has no age component, while “woman” or “girl” does. And the sex of victims is included in the police report (as well as the FBI national crime statistics).

  21. Who, What, When, Where, Why The 5 W’s of a Story.

    ” “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race … Chief Justice Roberts ”

    Just report the facts and nothing but the facts. It drives me nuts when the local new reports that “police need your help in finding the suspect in XYZ” and while the report clearly points that the suspect is not white, they do everything BUT state that fact. Kinda hard to help when you do not know who you are looking for.

    In a recent case where there was a serial rapist who was stalking women, and the police where asking for help, they gave just weight, height, build and the color of clothes he had on with the last victim. That was it. Basically look for everyone with the same weight, yeah, that will not cause any needless stops. Then they end the story with, police have a sketch — but not bother to show it. What is the point? How does being PC even when the facts are clear make anyone safer?

    Just give out the facts, it is not racist if it is the facts of the case.

  22. I would go a bit further even.
    For the FBI UCR we want age, race, and any possible gang affiliations listed. We also want to know if there were any prior convictions. We know recidivism is an issue, but unless we can easily correlate it, than it becomes more difficult to follow.
    This should be for any crime, not just gun crime. Why?
    We always see media point out some good kid shot in some urban area, and it is tragic. Yes, tragic, until someone actually starts digging. Then you find out he has a rap sheet a mile long and is only 16, plus he has been a gang member for a few years already. It doesn’t make it any less tragic, but what it will do is allow law enforcement and every other agency to focus on the real issue. We always see it, and say it, but it falls on def ears. This also tends to destroy the agitprop from those in power. They will be forced to deal with the real issues, instead of feel good policies which do nothing. But you all already knew that. It is hard to push for more control when you can clearly see where the issue lies.

  23. Does the 4473 form ask for race of gun buyers?

    Yep.

    Should the race of criminals using guns be reported? Absolutely. Otherwise, there’s no point in asking for race on the 4473.

    • “Should the race of criminals using guns be reported? Absolutely. Otherwise, there’s no point in asking for race on the 4473.”

      Ok I’ll bite – Reported internally for statistical tracking is certainly different that reporting in the media right?

      Also the 4473 is “Supposed” to be positively identifying an individual to determine when prohibited people are trying to buy weapons – when ID’ing somebody physical attributes are certainly relevant – Which is why your driver’s license lists height/weight and the color of your pretty blue eyes.

      • Per current federal requirements, your DL or CCW has a picture on it. Also per current federal requirements, you MUST present picture ID to buy a guy (which means filling out a 4473). Right there is all the physical description that the government needs for anything. You’re not buying a gun on a 4473 without photo ID, so the recording of the photo ID and who issued it is enough for the 4473.

        On old 4473 forms, back when some DL’s didn’t have photos on them, there was a box in the upper right corner that said simply “race.” There was no big multi-checkbox affair that we have now.

        There is no more need for the government to ask about “race” on a 4473 under the guise of “customer description.”

        Consider a famous example: Let’s say that Tiger Woods goes to buy a Beretta shotgun. How does he answer the race check boxes?

        There’s no need for race on the 4473 any more. But if the feds and the pearl-clutchers want to play that game, then let’s play it all the way through: when criminals using guns are reported and called out, call out their race.

  24. Outside of a BOLO situation, Who cares?

    I mean in the aftermath do we describe other physical attributes of the individuals?

    The attacker was 5’9″; when standing, since assuming room temperature his tallest point is now his pot belly which measures at 40 inches. Attacker was wearing a blue shirt. It’s red now. His beard and hair were brown and cropped short – He sported a unibrow. Should have invested in some tweezers – to late now.

    • I think you’re displaying too much style for the media… they’re trying to go out of business, not have people interested in reading their dispatches.

  25. No! Unless the shooter is white and the person shot is black. Or the shooter is just no-black (“Hispanic? Close enough!”) and the shot person is black. Basically if the supposed victim could be Obama’s son. Unless the shooter could also be Obama’s son, in which case the race shouldn’t matter.

    …right?

  26. Unless the shooter is at large, in which case race could help with identification, race is really unneeded. The only advantage of mentioning it is to counter or confirm the listener’s prejudice. For instance, many white folks would probably picture a black male as the shooter unless told otherwise.

    • Unless the shooter is at large, in which case race could help with identification

      I read several crime stories on that station’s web site. In only ONE did they identify the race. All the other stories left it out, yet they asked for people to help them ID the criminals!

  27. “Race” is, for a good segment of the population, impossible to define. We’ve been a melting pot long enough that a fair percentage of Americans can’t just answer this question in one word, or four. They would need to show you their family tree, going back three generations.

    The race labels don’t solve problems. It’s time to quit wasting resources tracking useless information.

  28. A radio station here in town does a weekly segment with “Detective Barb” about Crimeline, a crime tip line. A couple weeks back, one of the radio guys asked her about this issue, and whether the non-publishing of the race was a PD thing or a press thing. She unequivocally stated that of the race of the suspect was known, it was always included in the press release or news alert. She said if the news agency declined to publicize it, that was totally on them, and had nothing to do with law enforcement.

  29. Yes it is time to let the folks across the nation know who is causing the most crimes and that these same criminals commit more crimes when they are back on the street , most of them are habitual offenders and should either be locked away or euthanized as they are mentally ill or just too damn mean for society , I feel the same way against the worst criminal there is , a child molester , but I think they should just be put down as most , when they return to society repeat the crime , sometimes too much compassion can lead to worse things happening , but yes I think that the race of perps and victims should be reported . Be prepared and ready . Keep your powder dry .

  30. I’ll get in line with those that believe it should be reported in open cases where they are looking for a suspect. Everything descriptive should be known. After the fact? Doesn’t really matter to me. I also agree that if race is irrelevant, then age and sex are too.

  31. Should the breed of dog be mentioned in dog attack stories? Should bear and shark attacks simply be called “animal attacks?” These stories fuel prejudices as well. Most bears and sharks will never attack a human.

    One side of the debate here seems to believe people can’t be trusted with the truth. If we can’t be trusted with the truth, can we really be trusted with guns?

  32. No. For what possible reason? The only time race needs mentioning is when the report is about broadcasting a description of a suspect wanted by the police, or a missing person. Otherwise it serves no purpose. The sooner we take race out of the discussion the sooner we will all move forward as one society, with the race hustlers, and racists of all descriptions shoved to one side and totally marginalized.

  33. The race was reported. If you are from Cleveland, and you see that address, then there is not much question. No need to ask.

  34. What needs to be included in each account:
    Gender, appox age, number of inches perps trousers were below waist.

  35. Race should be reported when it helps to understand the events. In this case, the colors of the victims’ and perps’ skin had as much to do with the story as the colors of their shirts. Do you want to know the colors of their shirts? If not, why do you want to know their races?

    As has been pointed out, “race” is fairly subjective in the U.S. at this point. What race is Derek Jeter, Jason Kidd, Manu Ginobili, David Ortiz, or George Zimmerman? Race doesn’t even have much of a scientific basis. If you have to describe someone’s appearance, you would probably be better off describing the actual color of their skin instead of their race.

    Also, there can be reasons other than relevance and political correctness why not much detail was given. The perps were juveniles so they’re not supposed to be identified. As for the victims, perhaps the perps were part of a gang and there was concern for the victims’ safety. We tend to overestimate the extent of our knowledge of a situation and fill in factual gaps with assumptions. We then tend to remember when our assumptions turn out to be right and forget when they’re wrong. Thus, we convince ourselves that we have good judgment and intuition. Try finding someone who thinks they have below average judgment and intuition.

  36. Well, it should include skin color, height, weight, gender, etc. Why wouldn’t it? Race, meh, we’re all humans. Is stabbing by cat a thing yet. But you’d want the description of the person, right? I’d also include, you know, what kind of clothing the person was wearing, etc. Is that clothing-est? lol

    If the person drove away in a car I’d also include a description of their getaway vehicle. If drugs or alcohol were involved, I’d say that too (even if it was *gasp* prescription drugs). You’d want as much info as possible. It’s never, EVER, a bad thing to describe facts.

    If you use facts to extrapolate things like “he’s black so must be a criminal” or “bmw drivers are assholes” or “people with baseball caps are going to stab you” then you are an idiot. That’s about it, really. lol

    • Uh huh, uh huh…..it’s all oh so enlightened, post racial chit chat…..until you’re alone late at night on a darkened street with a trio of young brothers in hoodies walking your way.

      Then, not now, but then, your first thought will be “This may be my last thought”, while your second thought will be “Damn, now I see why they advise to carry chambered.”

  37. Absolutely, for both assailants and victims alike. The public needs that information to inform their situational awareness and threat assessment. For some of us, it isn’t so much “racial profiling”, as it is “description of the suspect.”

    Besides, a healthy dose of real world, full fact journalism might finally shake loose the myth from the minds of blacks that the #1 murderer of blacks are roving hordes of sheet clad racists riding down from the hills, when in reality it’s other blacks, typically from their own damn neighborhood.

  38. Why shouldn’t they include race? Seems like every time the media avoids describing the suspect it’s a quiet confirmation.

  39. Unless the perps are still at large, don’t care one way or the other. It’s not my business and doesn’t affect me.

    Of course, there are those on “both sides” who want race reported so they can further whatever agenda they have.

  40. Yes, the news media should provide the race of the victims and the suspects.
    If its on my drivers license, its fair game to be in the news, and it does a public service for tips, too.

    One day we will be discussing how many innocent lives were lost due to political correctness in the media.

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  41. Yes, it should be included and it is not racist, just factual. Racial prejudice is not implied when mentioning the race of a perpetrator, unless distasteful and stupid comments are made. Race is just one more fact like height and weight or eyes’ color. Only an idiot can claim PC and leave these facts out of news report; the police reports always include a description as detailed as possible, so why not the news.

  42. Just another middle aged white NRA member from the suburbs robbing another middle aged white guy helping two nuns change a tire when he and and the other Rotarians, and Moose Club members, were on their way to play golf.

    Or did it go down differently?

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