Inverted Pyramid Example #1 (False News)

The following news story is meant to be an example of my writing style. It does not reflect real events. It is false news.

A police officer and his detective girlfriend face charges including falsifying a police report in order to cover up manslaughter.

Police arrested the suspect, officer Todd Burnes, on Thursday. Burnes and his girlfriend, detective Marlene Griffin, were seen falsifying evidence the morning after the crime. He has been charged with vehicular manslaughter, fleeing the scene of an accident, failure to report an accident, failure to render assistance and filing a false police report. 

“No one—not one of our officers, not even me—is above the law. Sadly today, I have to take one of our own into custody because he failed to live up to our motto of to protect and to serve,” said Barry Kopperud, police chief. 

The victim’s name was Vivian Hoffman, 67. She was a Quik Shoppe clerk. She was a widow whose husband Gary died 5 years ago. She was wearing a grey wool coat at the time of her death.

Burnes was driving a tan unmarked police car when the accident occurred. Fibers from Hoffman’s grey wool coat were found stuck to the fender of the car.

“I did not see the victim but heard a loud thump. I honestly thought I hit a dog or a deer,” Burnes told investigators. 

Burnes said he told Griffin, who was assigned to the case, about the accident. She told Burnes not to say anything until he heard from her. 

The two later took the patrol car to a secluded, abandoned building lot and drove toward a utility pole, sideswiping the passenger-side fender to hide damage from the previous night. Griffin told Burnes to report the damage occurred as he was responding to the car accident. Burnes filed a false report stating that he had lost control of the vehicle.

A resident of the apartment complex where Burnes lives said she saw the detective and officers the morning after the accident looking at the fender. The witness said she saw the officers leave and return later with more damage to the fender than she noticed before. Her report was handed over to Internal Affairs.

Charges are pending against police detective Griffin, 32, a 10-year veteran of the department. She faces charges of conspiracy, aiding and abetting a crime and filing a false police report. She was the detective investigating the hit-and-run that killed Hoffman.