In what may be another instance of social media dictating the politically correct over the factually accurate, reports tweeted by a reporter in Baltimore on an anti-police act of vandalism differed in one important way.

A surveillance camera at the Baltimore Museum of Art captured the image of someone spray painting the phrase “KILL COPS” on a wall at 7 a.m. Saturday morning, triggering a police search for the vandal based on what the film showed.

But while the local news reporter tweeted a report that “Baltimore police are looking for a woman,” the Baltimore Sun newspaper provided the complete description.

“A surveillance camera captured the suspect marking the building, and she was described as a black woman with dark pants and a white shirt who walked with a limp, police said.”

So while one source felt it was acceptable to report that the suspect, clearly identified in the video, was female, it apparently did not feel comfortable reporting that the female just happened to be a black female.

An accurate description of a suspect increases the chances that a member of the public who might have seen or heard something suspicious will contact the authorities, so details that describe a suspect, rather than what they were wearing, are considered more reliable and useful than vague accounts.

Oddly, however, as the last of the five Dallas officers assassinated in the line of duty was laid to rest, and on the same morning three more officers would be ambushed in Baton Rouge, officials were said to have called the “KILL COPS” graffiti a “random act.”

Baltimore continues to feel the fallout after the death of a black man in police custody last year, triggering national protests and riots. To date, two of six officers charged in the incident have been acquitted, a third trial resulted in a hung jury, and the state’s attorney, Marilyn Mosby, is facing inquiries for withholding evidence from the defense and overcharging.



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