May 9, 2015
People can be arrested, charged and convicted for assaulting a police officer in the District of Columbia even when no physical violence occurs. We analyzed almost 2,000 court cases from 2012-2014 and found about 90 percent of those charged with assaulting a police officer were black and nearly two-thirds of people arrested for assaulting an officer weren’t charged with any other crimes. Some defense attorneys see troubling indicators in these numbers, alleging that the law is being used as a tactic to cover up police abuse and civil-rights violations.
March 21, 2015
In a year-long study, The Washington Post used court records and news media accounts to track the dispositions of about 1,800 cases nationwide since 2001 that reportedly involved shaking, finding some of the heaviest concentrations in counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Nebraska. The study for the first time identified about 200 cases in 47 states that ended when charges were dropped or dismissed, defendants were found not guilty or convictions were overturned.
Jan. 25, 2015
This three-part series looks at the plight of the black middle class, particularly in Maryland’s Prince George’s County, the nation’s highest-income majority-black county.
Although African Americans have made once-unthinkable political and social gains since the civil rights era, the severe and continuing damage wrought by the downturn — an entire generation of wealth was wiped out — has raised a vexing question: Why don’t black middle-class families enjoy the same level of economic security as their white counterparts?
Oct. 23, 2014
The inspector general’s office removed many critical findings and had increasingly become a defender of the agency under the acting inspector general, employees said. The USAID inspector general is responsible for ensuring that the billions of dollars the agency devotes to foreign assistance programs each year are spent wisely. The agency hires nongovernmental organizations and private contractors to carry out its projects, which include improving medical facilities, stabilizing economies and rebuilding war-wrecked nations such as Afghanistan and Iraq.
Oct. 14, 2014
WAMU and the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University examined more than a thousand contracts — worth an estimated $10 billion — that went to the D.C. Council for approval from January 2007 to January 2014.
From simple grass-cutting jobs to complicated D.C. Lottery services worth tens of millions of dollars, Council members have the final say over lucrative contracts. WAMU and the Workshop identified more than $5 million in political contributions from more than 300 firms with Council-approved contracts from 2005 to 2014. Roughly half of the contractors’ campaign cash was donated to lawmakers within a year of their contracts getting approved. The money was a crucial source of fundraising as well: Roughly one-fifth of Council members’ campaign contributions analyzed by WAMU came from firms seeking their approval for city contracts.
Contributions were often made months and weeks ahead of when the contracts were voted on; in some cases, the campaign checks were dated the same day a firm’s lucrative contract was sent to the Council for approval.
Oct. 8, 2014
FRONTLINE investigates whether the widespread use of antibiotics in food animals is fueling the growing crisis of antibiotic resistance in people. Also in this new one-hour program airing next week: An exclusive interview with the family of a young man who died in a nightmare bacteria outbreak at the National Institutes of Health.
Sept. 8, 2014
The federal government and private police trainers have been encouraging officers to target cash on the nation’s highways since 9/11. To examine the scope of asset forfeiture since the terror attacks, The Washington Post analyzed a database of hundreds of thousands of seizure records at the Justice Department, reviewed hundreds of federal court cases, obtained internal records from training firms and interviewed scores of police officers, prosecutors and motorists. The Posts found tens of thousands of cash seizures totaling more than $2.5 billion from people who were not charged with a crime.
Aug. 17, 2014
The federal government's National Instant Criminal Background Check System fails to keep guns from the mentally ill. The White House describes the background check system, also known as NICS, as its “most important tool” to stopping gun crime. But more than a decade of data from the FBI and public health research reveals broad failings of the system, which has cost at least $650 million to maintain, a News21 investigation found.
June 30, 2014
Non-disclosure agreements at some nonprofits and defense contractors contain restrictions that prevent employees from reporting fraud, even to the government, which appears to violate the federal whistleblower law.
May 30, 2014
The proliferation of new technologies may compromise the integrity of the newsgathering business, as web-crawling machines analyze large numbers of vast datasets and human decision-making gives way to automated algorithms that spit out “investigative” reports; at the same time, however, such technological developments offer journalists the sort of possibilities that may dramatically enhance their storytelling capabilities.