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The incredible vanishing Gates police report

If you've been following Gatesgate closely, you may be wondering: why did Boston.com replace the police report it originally posted Monday with another version that deletes most of Sgt. James Crowley's narrative?

"We were concerned that we had a preliminary copy," Boston.com editor David Beard told me today. "And we wanted to get a clean copy of the final report. There was no ideological reason; we just took basic journalistic precautions."

There may be more to the story, however. An email I received from a separate Globe source suggests that the original report was yanked because it contained info that could identify who, exactly, had provided it to the Globe.

I may be wrong, but I'm guessing that the info in question can be found on the page marked "Incident Supplement #9005127-1," next to "Date/Time Printed," where the individual who printed the report is named. That ID is nowhere to be found on the report currently visible at Boston.com.

When I asked Beard about this explanation, he declined comment. If it's legit, I really can't judge Boston.com too harshly, since the site (and the Globe in general) had to protect its source.

That said, I'm not sure why the parties responsible didn't simply redact the incriminating info and then repost the original report, rather than trekking all the way over to Cambridge District Court. And, since the switcheroo eliminated some crucial details about what transpired between Crowley and Skip Gates, I'm glad that someone--namely, Blue Mass. Group's David Kravitz--replicated the original while it was still online.

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