What is the story behind this image? What is the source of that text? Why is that word “allegedly” doing in the headline?
I searched Google for “officer on leave after video allegedly shows him pulling gun on unarmed teens” at 10:30am EST Tuesday and found nothing.
A half hour later, I’m starting to find social media chatter about this phrasing — but no indication of the source of the text. Could it have been something the Facebook algorithm conjured up, even though no human reporter ever wrote that headline?
Everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Everyone. Even people who are appear in videos that provide very convincing evidence of wrongdoing.
I am glad I am not this cop’s defense attorney, but that word “allegedly” is there to protect the news providers from being sued by reporting what that video seems to show.
In the still picture, someone who looks he’s a cop is holding what looks like a gun, and he sure seems to be pointing it at people who sure look like teenagers; however, the editor writing that headline does not know whether, off camera, someone (maybe a teen pool party visitor, maybe an adult standing on his or her own property) might have flashed a weapon, such that the cop pulled his gun in response to that threat.
If I had just seen the video for the first time, and hadn’t yet had time to check with the authorities in McKinney (to confirm the incident took place there, and that this is not, for example, recycled footage of an event that happened somewhere else last summer, or a prank video), I would have definitely written a headline that included a word like “allegedly” or “appears to” or something like “Witnesses: Cop pulls gun on unarmed teens at suburban pool party.”
So, an editor who puts the word “allegedly” here is doing what journalists are supposed to do — report verified facts. The reporter didn’t check the pockets of every teenager on the scene, so the reporter doesn’t know for a fact that every teen there was “unarmed.”
Because I haven’t seen any news story with that exact headline, I can’t comment on whether the story that goes along with the headline was accurate.
I see lots of evidence of accurate journalism covering this story, with most of it focused on criticism of the officer’s over-reaction, and some of it presenting the views of the local residents who say the teenagers were trespassing. Other than this still image, I cannot find, outside of cached Google references to Facebook’s trending subject indicator, any use of term “allegedly” as it appears in that image.