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The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 26,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364573-882-3364  or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.



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  • WBEZ probe leads to indictment of Chicago police commander

    Chicago officials have long treated complaints against police officers as if they were state secrets. Citizens file thousands each year but few lead to administrative discipline and almost none to criminal charges. It’s especially rare for a complaint to get a ranking officer in trouble. Since 2007, the city agency that investigates excessive-force complaints has recommended stripping the police powers of only three officers above the sergeant rank. Only one has involved alleged excessive force while on duty.

    Tags: complaints; criminal; discipline; excessive force

    By Chip Mitchell; Derek John

    WBEZ Radio (Chicago)

    2014

  • Double life: Cop by day, gang member by night

    San Antonio is a market where viewers are drawn to crime coverage. It has its share of murders. KSAT tends to cover them in one day, then move on. When an off-duty police officer was killed and the agency investigating his death clammed up, that was something that seemed odd to KSAT. There was no praise of his life and career by his brothers and sisters in blue. Within 24 hours of his death, they began to peel back the image of an officer who proudly wore a badge and swore to protect and serve his community to see one who took a different oath that cost him his life. He was also a member of a notoriously violent gang: the Texas Mexican Mafia.

    Tags: police; double agent; gang; off-duty; officer

    By Tim Gerber; Nicole Perez; William Caldera; Sam Bayless

    KSAT-TV (San Antonio, Texas)

    2014

  • Escalator rules fall short — even after two severe accidents

    Within a five-month period in Washington state there were two major escalator accidents. In one, a escalator collapsed and injured seven mallgoers, while in the other a man was strangled in an escalator in Seattle. A News Tribune investigation found that even after the state implemented new escalator maintenance protocols, one-quarter of Washington’s escalators still had known safety problems that had never been corrected. The state was also falling down on its duties to inspect escalators. While the state is supposed to complete safety inspections of escalators annually, inspectors visited fewer than 1/3 of escalators in 2013. The newspaper also discovered that more than 40 percent of state-inspected escalators may lack a safety feature that could have saved the life of the man who was strangled by the Seattle escalator.

    Tags: washington state; escalators; maintenance; inspections

    By Melissa Santos; Jessica Randklev; Lui Kit Wong; Peter Haley

    The News Tribune

    2014

  • Injured Heroes, Broken Promises

    This six-month-long investigation uncovered complaints from hundreds of injured, active duty soldiers who say they were mistreated, harassed and verbally abused by commanders of the U.S. Army’s Warrior Transition Units, or WTUs, which were created to improve care for injured soldiers after the 2007 Walter Reed scandal. Through interviews with wounded soldiers and hundreds of pages of Army records obtained in a Freedom of Information Act request, our reports showed how soldiers at three WTUs in Texas, particularly soldiers with mental wounds, were subjected to harsh treatment from unit leaders who were supposed to guide them through the healing process. Soldiers describe commanders using drill sergeant style threats, intimidation and demeaning language in an apparent attempt to motivate the injured. Video link: https://vimeo.com/116104924

    Tags: injured soldiers; abuse; harassment; military

    By Scott Friedman; Eva Parks; Peter Hull

    NBC 5/KXAS-TV

    2014

  • Force at the Border

    On Oct. 10, 2012, one or more Border Patrol agents shot an unarmed Mexican teenager 10 times in the back and head, firing through the border fence from Arizona into Nogales, Mexico. Agents said Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez had thrown rocks at them. But their version of events didn’t square with the facts. As Arizona Republic reporters dug further into that killing and into 41 other cases of deadly force by on-duty Border Patrol agents, they found that agents who use deadly force face few if any public repercussions, even when the cases appear dubious. They found that agents who kill are protected by a culture of secrecy at Customs and Border Protection. The country’s largest law-enforcement body, CBP also is among the least transparent – in fact, its policies fly in the face of best practices recommended by national police organizations. The investigation found previously unreported deaths at the hands of agents. It found that hundreds of Border Patrol agents didn’t use deadly force, despite facing the same circumstances as the agents who killed. In addition, it examined why border deaths don't spark outrage and how the Border Patrol is increasingly backing up local police and conducting local police duties.

    Tags: border patrol; customs and border protection; police

    By Bob Ortega, Rob O'Dell, Daniel Gonzalez

    Arizona Republic (Phoenix)

    2013

  • License to Swill

    The Better Government Association and NBC 5 found that numerous Illinois police and fire labor contracts allow police officers and firefighters to arrive at work with a blood-alcohol level up to and including 0.079 – just below 0.08, at which drivers are legally considered intoxicated in Illinois. Turns out such contract language is, in many cases, decades-old and carried from one labor agreement to the next with little thought. The hazards of first responders being allowed to work “buzzed” is obvious: They deal with life-and-death decisions – whether in burning buildings or while pointing guns at suspects – that demand good decision-making and proper reaction times that alcohol can compromise. Our story came on the heels of the City of Chicago approving a $4.1 million settlement to the family of an unarmed man fatally shot by an on-duty Chicago cop who had been drinking alcohol prior to his shift.

    Tags: police; blood-alcohol level; intoxication

    By Patrick Rehkamp, Robert Herguth, Phil Rogers, Katy Smyser, Lisa Capitanini, Richard Moy

    Better Government Association

    2013

  • Over the Line

    Fatal shootings by U.S. Border Patrol agents were once a rarity. Only a handful were recorded before 2009. Unheard of were incidents of Border Patrol agents shooting Mexicans on their own side of the border. But a joint investigation by the Washington Monthly, The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, and the television network Fusion has found that over the past five years U.S. border agents have shot across the border at least ten times, killing a total of six Mexicans on Mexican soil. A former Clinton administration official who worked on border security issues couldn’t recall a single cross-border shooting during his tenure. “Agents would go out of their way not to harm anyone and certainly not shoot across the border,” he said. But following a near doubling of the number of Border Patrol agents between 2006 and 2009, a disturbing pattern of excessive use of force emerged. For “Over the Line,” we traveled to several Mexican border towns, tracking down family members of victims, eye-witnesses to the shootings, amateur video, Mexican police reports, audiotapes, and autopsies to recreate the circumstances surrounding these cross-border killings. We recount the stories of several of them, including 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodriguez, a studious Mexican teen who dreamed of becoming a soldier to fight the violence that plagued his hometown of Nogales, Sonora, and who was shot and killed by U.S. border agents as he walked to pick his brother up after work. The first two shots were to the boy’s head; he was shot eight more times as he lay, prone and bleeding, on the sidewalk. Although Border Patrol protocols and international treaties between Mexico and the United States appear to have been violated by these cross border shootings, none of the agents involved have yet been prosecuted. If any agents have been relieved of their duties for their role in the incidents, that information has not been made available to the public, and our queries to Customs and Border Protection on this issue have been denied. The Washington Monthly story was accompanied by two broadcasts that aired at the launch of the news network Fusion, a joint project of ABC News and Univision. These reports delve into two of the more troubling incidents in greater depth. “Investigation Shows Mexican Teen Was Shot 8 Times on the Ground” tells the story of Rodriguez, the teenager killed in Nogales; “U.S. Border Patrol Shoots and Kills Mexican Man in Park with Family” uses amateur video and eyewitness testimony to tell the even more shocking story of Arevalo Pedroza, shot and killed by US border agents who fired into a crowd of picnickers on the Mexico side of the Rio Grande in September 2012.

    Tags: immigration; border patrol

    By John Carlos Frey; Esther Kaplan; Phil Longman

    Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute

    2013

  • Conservatorships in Tennessee

    In an obscure part of the court system, reporter Walter F. Roche, Jr. discovered tales of abuse that led to new state law, launched a government investigation and spurred at least one judge to make changes on how he handles cases. The victims are vulnerable, often elderly, without family to look after them. What they have in common is that a court has found them unable physically or mentally to make sound choices–and appointed a guardian or conservator to fill this duty. Roche found that these court-appointed conservators don’t always have the best interest of the ward in mind.

    Tags: courts; abuse; public guardians

    By Walter F. Rouche Jr.; Deborah Fisher; Lisa Green; Scott Stroud

    The Tennessean

    2013

  • Rhode Island Priest Sex Abuse Letters

    In 2012 and early 2013, three Catholic priests were removed from duty at parishes in Rhode Island after credible allegations of sexual abuse against them surfaced. Several adult victims came forward to report assaults that happened decades earlier. In each case, the Diocese of Providence sent a letter describing the abuse and the circumstances to Rhode Island State Police. But because of Rhode Island's brief Statute of Limitations, as short as three years in some cases, there was no way to prosecute the priests criminally. Victims were also unable to bring civil lawsuits in most cases. NBC 10 wanted to know how many other Rhode Island priests had been credibly accused of sexual abuse but never charged with child molestation or rape. While the Diocese of Providence is not subject to public records laws, Rhode Island State Police maintained copies of the letters and must comply with the state's open records regulations. Over a six month period, public records requests revealed 45 letters sent to State Police by the Diocese during the past decade. The letters gave new insight into what victims experienced and how they were treated once they came forward. They also raised questions about why some cases were apparently reported to State Police, while others were not.

    Tags: police; victim; sexual abuse; priests; rhode island

    By Katie Davis

    WJAR-TV (Providence, R.I.)

    2013

  • The Shooting of Sgt. Manuel Loggins by Orange County Deputy Sheriff Darren Sandberg

    Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Darren Sandberg shot off-duty Marine Sgt. Manuel Loggins to death in front of his two young daughters in February of 2012. Loggins was unarmed, and Patch was the first organization to break the name of the victim and the name of the deputy involved, as well as an assessment by police procedure experts that mirrored findings by the district attorney months later. The shooting happened a few months after police in Fullerton beat to death the mentally ill and homeless Kelly Thomas. It was a key catalyst to the debate about how police in Orange County use force against suspects.

    Tags: police; crime; shooting; death; use of force

    By Adam Townsend; Roy Rivenburg; Penny Arevalo; Sarah DeCrescenzo

    Patch.com

    2012