The Emmy-nominated Netflix true crime documentary, “The Keepers,” helped break open a 47-year-old story of sexual abuse and murder at a Baltimore Catholic school. But it took stubborn shoe-leather investigative reporting to penetrate official indifference and the refusal to pursue evidence of police misconduct.
The first consent decree ordered under the Justice Department “pattern or practice” program to investigate local police departments for violations of constitutional rights was signed 20 years ago. One of the nation’s leading experts on policing draws 10 encouraging lessons from the story so far.
The officers worked in an elite squad. They were accused of planting evidence, doctoring paperwork, and beating and robbing suspects. Six of the seven were acquitted at trial and got their jobs back, but authorities lost confidence in the integrity of their work.
FBI Director James Comey disgraced himself last week when he claimed that criticisms of the police over the past year have contributed to the rise in violent crime. He added, in his October 23 speech at the University of Chicago, that he had no evidence to support this statement. Of course he doesn't have any. There is no evidence. Comey's claim sends absolutely the wrong message to the country. Without saying so directly, the message is: If you criticize the […]
This story by Nancy West was sponsored by the Fund for Investigative Journalism and hosted by VTDigger. West founded the New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism, which will launch its news website NHinDepth on Sept. 1. Maybe Debra Jean Milke masterminded the murder of her tow-haired son Christopher in Phoenix just before Christmas 1989 to collect the 4-year-old’s $5,000 life insurance policy. Or maybe – as Milke has insisted all along – she was just the innocent victim of […]