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Thursday, March 25, 2010

What is a Razor Knife, Anyway?

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 4:38 PM

One of the conversations we've been having in the comments about Monday's fatal Portland police shooting of Jack Collins is what kind of weapon exactly Collins was wielding. The police originally described the weapon as a "razor knife" and later as a "razor knife with a six-inch handle" but the language has been changing daily between media reports, new police statements and the medical examiner's report. Language matters here. There have been no images released of the weapon, so words are the only descriptions we can go off of to understand exactly what happened between the officer and homeless man. Was Collins waving this razor knife or was it more like this boxcutter?

Here's a round up of all the different phrases used to describe the weapon since the incident:

Razor knife: Police press release (March 22)

Similar to an Exacto knife: Police spokeswoman Mary Wheat quoted on KGW (March 23)

Boxcutter: Medical Examiner on Think Out Loud (March 23)

A kind of utility knife: OPB (March 24)

Razor-sharp hobby knife: AP (March 24)

Razor-type blade: AP (March 25)

Utility knife
: OPB (March 25)

Knife: Police press release (March 25)

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