Power, privilege and cover-up: a case study on how intertextuality in police records can mislead homicide investigations

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Despite the newfound interest in homicide investigations, only a limited number of studies have been able to examine the validity of police and other official records which are collated during the course of an investigation. Moreover, linguistic presentation of gathered statements and evidence in official records is often overlooked. The focus of this paper is to investigate how intertextuality in police records can lead to disingenuous accounts of an incident. Using the Koschman homicide investigation as a case study, the results of this research explore the following avenues which can be used to mislead investigations: 1) Archival management of witness statements; 2) manipulation of investigatory procedures; and 3) compliance, complicity and the use of power. This research illustrates how police officers can use their editorial powers to alter the outcome of a homicide investigation in order to meet political or other exigent agendas. Furthermore, the power of the police and their complicity with other seemingly independent agencies can be used to reinforce police statements and attain compliance from the general public.
Homicide investigations, Archival practices, Police record-keeping, Intertextuality, Police cultures