Current Affairs

A Prosecutorial Mad Lib

Officer-involved shooting edition: explain why you are choosing not to issue any indictments.

With over 230 Black people murdered by the police in 2019 alone, it can be difficult for you—a soulless district attorney—to come up with brand-new reasons to avoid pressing charges against the officers responsible. Nobody appreciates how tough your job really is. Nobody appreciates how much you’ve sacrificed for your ambition. After all, you could have been virtuous: You could have become a public defender or worked for a legal aid society. But, since you want to run for political office someday, it’s important for you to appear tough on crime—well, not actual crimes, like the ones committed by police officers against civilians, but theoretical crimes, like what if the ice cream cone wielded by the bipolar 17-year-old was actually a gun. Turning victims into villains and vice versa is hard work, and that’s why Current Affairs is supplying you with a helpful template for your next cowardly, doublespeak-ridden press conference. Give it a shot. The only things you have to lose are your last remaining shreds of conscience, humanity, and self-respect.


Good afternoon,

Thank you all for coming today. I would like to make (an insincere statement of warmth and condolence) to the family of (victim’s name). And I would also like to ask (phrase for activists that makes them sound like outside agitators) to (request for civility coupled with a veiled threat.)

After an investigation that took (an exaggerated length of time and amount of effort), the Office of the District Attorney has concluded the following facts: Officer (murderer’s name) was dispatched in response to a call made by (a polite euphemism for a nosy neighborhood racist) describing a suspect that looked like (racial stereotype) and was wearing (an unremarkable piece of clothing). When Officer (murderer’s name), arrived on the scene, he discovered that (victim’s name) matched the caller’s description and that (victim’s name) was behaving in a manner that Officer (murderer’s name) described as (prejudicial and entirely subjective adjective). When Officer (murderer’s name) asked (victim’s name) to stop (engaging in perfectly legal activity), (victim’s name) refused to comply, asking Officer (murderer’s name) to (behave in a legal and appropriate manner). At this point, Officer (murderer’s name) felt (emotion inappropriate for the situation).

(Victim’s name) then suddenly made (an unlikely violent movement) toward Officer (murderer’s name). Experiencing a (non-credible amount) of fear, Officer (murderer’s name) (strained and clumsy passive-voice verb formation that’s barely grammatical and implies an almost magical-realist event where objects have agency and people do not). But (victim’s name), despite having received (number) of bullets in (non-frontal body part), suddenly (completed impossible physical maneuver that could only take place on a non-Euclidean plane of reality). In response, Officer (murderer’s name) felt he had no choice but to (action that manages to sound both inevitable and accidental, like something out of a Greek tragedy).

After (shockingly large number of) minutes, Officer (murderer’s name) called an ambulance. He did not attempt resuscitation because he was worried (victim’s name) might actually be a (mythological monster). After (another shockingly large number of) minutes, (victim’s name) was pronounced dead at the scene.

While we are aware that (condescending term for activists) have drawn attention to (piece of evidence), (piece of evidence), and (piece of evidence), we would like to remind everyone that one eyewitness later changed their statement, claiming (a minor and completely understandable alteration). In light of these facts and the (friendly euphemism for lies) made by Officer (murderer’s name), we have determined there is insufficient evidence to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that this (euphemism for the violent execution of a human being without trial) violated the Fourth and Eighth Amendments.

To (victim’s name)’s family, I would like to make (a seemingly compassionate statement). I want you to understand that (insincere avowal of effort and regret). At the District Attorney’s office, we vow (vague promise of reform and technocratic solutions that will make a nice sound-bite for the political career you hope to someday have despite the subtle dread that gnaws at your insides, telling you that you might just have ended up on the wrong side of history and humanity.)


Donations for the funeral expenses of George Floyd can be made through this GoFundMe, which has been confirmed to go directly to the family.

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