The L.A. Times has issued the following correction:
Police beating: Articles in Friday’s California section and Saturday’s Section A about a police beating in Hollywood said a brief video recording of the incident showed an officer punching a suspect six times in the face. The video image shows five blows to the suspect’s face. In one other instance — the fourth of six downward motions by the officer’s right hand — he appears to grab the suspect’s arm, not punch him in the face.
The correction comes after I wrote the Readers’ Representative to make this exact point.
As of the publication of this post, the article where I originally noticed the error does not have the correction appended to it. (That story, by the way, claimed that the officer had punched the suspect in the face “at least” six times.) Nor is there a correction appended to the other story that made the same claim.
I assume appended corrections are on the way.
My leftist friends say I am making a huge deal out of the difference between five and six blows. No — the L.A. Times made a big deal out of the police misreporting of the number of blows. I merely noted that it was ironic that, in a story that faulted officers for getting the number of punches wrong, the L.A. Times got the number of punches wrong.
One wonders whether the L.A. Times will be satisfied with the officers’ reporting if they now simply write a supplemental report that reads: “For the record: We misreported the number of distraction strikes that Officer Farrell administered to suspect Cardenas in our original report. The true number was five.”
Because we all make mistakes.
What’s more, as I previously wrote the Readers’ Representative:
[I]f Times reporters can get the number of punches wrong after watching a video in the comfort of their offices, it might not be that ludicrous for officers to misremember the exact number of punches after a stressful struggle with a felony suspect who allegedly took several swings at them and actively resisted being taken into custody.
I assume that, as expected, the correction does not appear on the front page, but rather in a small box on Page A2, as all corrections do. I’ll let you know for sure later, when the paper makes the image of the front page available.
UPDATE 5:54 p.m. I see that both stories now have appended corrections.