Courts & Crime

How cops talk: ‘She frickin went into the (expletive) river’

A newly released investigation shows how cops talk. And guess what? It ain’t always pretty.

The report by the Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General probes the events of May 3, 2013, when 83-year-old Victoria M. Kong went missing from Ronald Reagan National Airport. She was last seen walking toward Gravelly Point Park, near the airport.

National Park Service officials requested the investigation after they were tipped off about what they termed “inappropriate, insensitive comments about Ms. Kong” made by a U.S. Park Police shift commander.

This is what the commander said, in a recorded telephone conversation with a sergeant at about 4 a.m.

“You know if it’s a frickin’ 9,000-year-old Alzheimers’ woman, she freakin’ went into the (expletive) river,” the shift commander said. “You know that.”

Ms. Kong’s body was found May 6, at the bottom of an embankment. Officials feared that the shift commander’s harsh words may have been a clue that the search was half-hearted and inadequate. The OIG auditors, though, concluded the park police followed their policies and procedures.

The shift commander acknowledged to investigators that his comments had been “crass,” and the audit noted that unspecified “administrative action” had been taken. The audit itself is worth a look, both for the full transcript of the early morning conversation, which sheds some light on bureaucracies in action, and for the accompanying video.