Extra Extra : Government (federal/state/local)

N.J. troopers repeatedly slammed Kenwin Garcia to ground during fatal '08 incident, records show

In an update to a major investigation released earlier this month, NJ Advance Media has found that a Newark man who died in 2008 after a struggle with police was repeatedly slammed to the ground by those restraining him.

The Oct. 1 report – published at NJ.com and in The Star-Ledger – focused on the life and troubling death of Kenwin Garcia. In 2008, Garcia was stopped by New Jersey State Police while walking along the side of a highway. An altercation ensued, and Garcia died days later. The resulting state investigation was largely glazed over publicly. No charges were filed ...

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FDA approves cancer drugs without proof they're extending lives

Nearly three out of four cancer drugs introduced in the last decade were approved by the FDA without proof that they help patients survive longer.

Teaming with MedPage Today, which provides physicians a clinical perspective on breaking medical news, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analyzed 54 cancer drugs put on the market in the last decade. They found that instead of using the gold standard – patients surviving longer – the FDA based approval on surrogate measures such as a tumor shrinking.

To read the full story, click here.

Jacksonville children are in detention longer than Florida law intends

Florida juveniles are being locked up in Jacksonville-area detention centers longer than in any other part of the state and longer than the law intends, according to a Florida Times-Union investigation.

The wide-ranging look at the area’s juvenile detention system also found that kids are sometimes held in overcrowded conditions. The troubling conditions are draining taxpayers’ wallets and raising concerns about the legal system’s handling of juveniles.

Athletes, teams donate big to political campaigns

An investigative team analyzed thousands of financial records from federal, state and local elections and discovered how sports teams, owners and athletes are contributing to political campaigns.

The 10 Investigates team from Tampa Bay and Sarasota’s 10 News found that many of the area’s major teams have contributed political funds – usually toward the state’s dominant party. The experts they interviewed suggest the money is seen as an investment to tip legislators toward passing stadium-friendly legislation.

To read and watch the full story, click here.

Extra Extra Monday: Uneven assessments, National Guard misconduct, Chicago migration myth

Across Wisconsin, uneven property assessments fly in the face of fairness | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By measure after measure, in cities, towns and villages across Wisconsin, property assessors are discounting uniformity and trampling on fairness, while officials with the state Department of Revenue do little to rectify the disparities, an investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has found.

In dozens of communities, 20% or more of residential property taxes are being paid by the wrong people, according to the Journal Sentinel's analysis of Department of Revenue records for each of the state's 1,852 municipalities. The analysis considered communities ...

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Water officials in California refuse to follow own conservation rules

In Southern California, a region in severe drought, many cities have passed rules on water usage per household per day. While the average water usage in a single-family home is now using 361 gallons per day, water conservation advocates on city councils haven’t been following their own regulations. Mike Soubirous, a Riverside City Council member who voted for new, strict rules in July, used over a million gallons in his home last year, nearly ten times the amount of the average family.

Soubirous is far from alone. According to The Center for Investigative Reporting, 25 other officials in similar ...

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Records show mistakes, questionable evidence in woman's overturned murder case

In light of the recent exoneration of Michelle Murphy, who spent 20 years in prison on a wrongful conviction for killing her baby, the Tulsa World investigated the elements that led to Murphy's 1995 conviction in the first place.

The investigation shows the state of Oklahoma relied on faulty blood analysis, the dubious testimony of a troubled 14-year-old neighbor and an unrecorded, incriminating statement to convict Murphy. All three elements were so problematic they should have been challenged in court. Also, jurors never heard other evidence that might have given them reasonable doubt about convicting Murphy.

To read the ...

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Judge 'sickened' by abuse program's failures

Minnesota law mandates that child-protection agencies investigate child abuse cases with evidence of egregious harm and substantial endangerment. Yet since 2005, more than 20,000 cases of children deemed at “high risk” for more abuse have been routed to family assessment, in which social workers don’t investigate the cases and instead try to work with families.

A Star Tribune review of more than 400 child abuse cases found family assessment was used after children were reported to have been severely physically and sexually abused or abandoned. The review showed that dozens of children were later harmed, including at least ...

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Asset seizures fuel police spending

Police agencies have used hundreds of millions of dollars taken from Americans under federal civil forfeiture law in recent years to buy guns, armored cars and electronic surveillance gear. They have also spent money on luxury vehicles, travel and a clown named Sparkles.

The details are contained in thousands of annual reports submitted by local and state agencies to the Justice Department’s Equitable Sharing Program, an initiative that allows local and state police to keep up to 80 percent of the assets they seize.

The documents offer a sweeping look at how police departments and drug task forces across ...

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Landslide safety all over the map in Washington

The deadly Oso landslide in March sparked a debate over Snohomish County’s apparent failure to protect residents at the base of a known landslide zone.

But Washington state is dotted with landslide-prone slopes, and many counties and cities do less than Snohomish County to keep homes away from harm.

A joint KUOW-EarthFix investigation found that local rules vary widely around the state, leaving some communities with much smaller margins of safety than others.