ProPublica

ProPublica A Pulitzer-winning, non-profit newsroom focused on investigative journalism in the public interest. We are independent and funded largely through donations.
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ProPublica was founded by Paul Steiger, the former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal. It is now led by Stephen Engelberg, a former managing editor of The Oregonian, Portland, Oregon and former investigative editor of The New York Times, and Richard Tofel, the former assistant publisher of The Wall Street Journal. ProPublica is headquartered in Manhattan. Its establishment was announced in October 2007. Operations commenced in January 2008, and publishing began in June 2008. For more information, please see: http://www.propublica.org/about

Mission: ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. Our work focuses exclusively on truly important stories, stories with “moral force.” We do this by producing journalism that shines a light on exploitation of the weak by the strong and on the failures of those with power to vindicate the trust placed in them. Investigative journalism is at risk. Many news organizations have increasingly come to see it as a luxury. Today’s investigative reporters lack resources: Time and budget constraints are curbing the ability of journalists not specifically designated “investigative” to do this kind of reporting in addition to their regular beats. New models are, therefore, necessary to carry forward some of the great work of journalism in the public interest that is such an integral part of self-government, and thus an important bulwark of our democracy.

Operating as usual

“Would you let your child sit with you and not speak for months?” said Adiba, whose young daughter has cerebral palsy an...
02/21/2021
She Needs a Device to Communicate. The State Has Kept it From Her for 18 Months.

“Would you let your child sit with you and not speak for months?” said Adiba, whose young daughter has cerebral palsy and needs an augmentative communication device.

“I firmly believe they make it so hard for families that they give up.”

https://propub.li/3qlHWRP

Emory, 11, has cerebral palsy and uses an augmentative communication device to talk to her friends. One day, her mother turned it on and smoke came out. “They make it so hard for families that they give up.”

Once you accept that climate change is making large parts of the U.S. nearly uninhabitable, the future looks like this: ...
02/21/2021
Climate Change Will Force a New American Migration

Once you accept that climate change is making large parts of the U.S. nearly uninhabitable, the future looks like this: With time, the bottom half of the country grows inhospitable, dangerous + hot. Those who stay are disproportionately poor and elderly.

https://propub.li/3abIioL

Wildfires rage in the West. Hurricanes batter the East. Droughts and floods wreak damage throughout the nation. Life has become increasingly untenable in the hardest-hit areas, but if the people there move, where will everyone go?

"I responded that I...was actually a journalist, not a doctor. "'Is that going to be a problem... can you still give me ...
02/20/2021
I’m a Journalist. Apparently, I’m Also One of America’s “Top Doctors.”

"I responded that I...was actually a journalist, not a doctor.

"'Is that going to be a problem... can you still give me the “Top Doctor” award?'

"There was a pause... 'Yes,' she decided, I could have the award."

https://propub.li/3tPJ6r7

Companies cash in by calling physicians “Super Doctor,” “Best Doctor” or “Top Doctor” and then selling them opportunities to boast about the honor. Experts call the accolades a “scam.” Giving me one highlights the absurdity.

A teenage girl carrying her baby arrived at the U.S. border this summer and begged for help. She told federal agents tha...
02/20/2021
Her Rapist Threatened to Make Her “Disappear.” Instead of Asylum, ICE Put Her in a Hotel and Sent Her Back.

A teenage girl carrying her baby arrived at the U.S. border this summer and begged for help. She told federal agents that she feared returning to Guatemala. The man who raped her she said had threatened to make her “disappear.”

Then, advocates say, the child briefly vanished — into the custody of the U.S. government, which held her and her baby for days in a hotel with almost no outside contact before federal officers summarily expelled them from the country.
https://propub.li/2Ozdrdb

Thousands of migrant children — including babies — have been expelled by the Trump administration since March. Some have been held in hotels without access to lawyers or family. Advocates say many are now “virtually impossible” to find.

ProPublica sifted through thousands of videos taken by Parler users to create an immersive, first-person view of the Cap...
02/20/2021
What Parler Saw During the Attack on the Capitol

ProPublica sifted through thousands of videos taken by Parler users to create an immersive, first-person view of the Capitol riot as experienced by those who were there.
https://propub.li/3b1ZZGq

ProPublica sifted through thousands of videos taken by Parler users to create an immersive, first-person view of the Capitol riot as experienced by those who were there.

NBA guard Thabo Sefolosha got a $4.5M settlement after an NYPD officer broke his leg with a baton. But the payout is whe...
02/20/2021
New York City Paid an NBA Star Millions After an NYPD Officer Broke His Leg. The Officer Paid Little Price.

NBA guard Thabo Sefolosha got a $4.5M settlement after an NYPD officer broke his leg with a baton. But the payout is where any accountability ended.

The city insisted the cops involved were blameless, and they ended up facing no significant punishment.

https://propub.li/3qlssgB

“When are people going to be held accountable?” asked NBA guard Thabo Sefolosha. A ProPublica review found New York has paid more than $1 billion in recent years to settle suits against officers, who are rarely punished.

After a FedEx worker died at its Memphis hub, the state said FedEx had not done enough to fix problems that led to dozen...
02/19/2021
A Temp Worker Died on the Job After FedEx Didn’t Fix a Known Hazard. The Fine: $7,000.

After a FedEx worker died at its Memphis hub, the state said FedEx had not done enough to fix problems that led to dozens of injuries in previous years.

The fine: $7000

Reduced to $5950 after FedEx said it took measures to prevent similar incidents.

https://propub.li/3ah3f1t

FedEx workers at the Memphis World Hub said they were pressured to work faster than they felt was safe. The company faces its busiest season ever, but experts worry about safety practices after the “extremely preventable” death of a temporary worker.

The commission fired Exec. Director Alice Stebbins in 2020, saying she misled the public by asserting that $200 million ...
02/19/2021
She Noticed $200 Million Missing, Then She Was Fired

The commission fired Exec. Director Alice Stebbins in 2020, saying she misled the public by asserting that $200 million was missing.

But an investigation by ProPublica & Bay City News Foundation found that Stebbins was right about the missing money.

https://propub.li/3pl5Bkj

Alice Stebbins was hired to fix the finances of California’s powerful utility regulator. She was fired after finding $200 million for the state’s deaf, blind and poor residents was missing.

New: President Biden has promised enough doses for all American adults by this summer. There’s not much even the Defense...
02/19/2021
Why We Can’t Make Vaccine Doses Any Faster

New: President Biden has promised enough doses for all American adults by this summer. There’s not much even the Defense Production Act can do to deliver doses before then. https://propub.li/2ZuJfCf

President Biden has promised enough doses for all American adults by this summer. There’s not much even the Defense Production Act can do to deliver doses before then.

Zoning boards rely on finely tuned regulations to keep housing segregation firmly in place, pointing to frail public inf...
02/19/2021
Separated by Design: How Some of America’s Richest Towns Fight Affordable Housing

Zoning boards rely on finely tuned regulations to keep housing segregation firmly in place, pointing to frail public infrastructure, clogged streets, a lack of sidewalks & concerns of overcrowding that would damage “neighborhood character.”

https://propub.li/37tbztl

In southwest Connecticut, the gap between rich and poor is wider than anywhere else in the country. Invisible walls created by local zoning boards and the state government block affordable housing and, by extension, the people who need it.

Whether or not the virus gets under control depends on the race between vaccines and variants. And the more we loosen re...
02/19/2021
Why Opening Restaurants Is Exactly What the Coronavirus Wants Us to Do

Whether or not the virus gets under control depends on the race between vaccines and variants. And the more we loosen restrictions, the more we help the variants.

https://propub.li/36TKRtv

Governors continue to open indoor dining and other activities before vaccinations become widespread. Experts warn this could create superspreading playgrounds for dangerous variants and squander our best shot at getting the pandemic under control.

“These are all weapons that should be used as a last resort when open dialogue and communication fail and the violence i...
02/19/2021
We Reviewed Police Tactics Seen in Nearly 400 Protest Videos. Here’s What We Found.

“These are all weapons that should be used as a last resort when open dialogue and communication fail and the violence is so out of hand that normal policing methods and arresting people have been tried and don’t work.” https://propub.li/2LSMxw0

We asked experts to watch videos showing officers using tear gas, pepper balls and explosives on protesters. Police actions often escalated confrontations.

Public health experts said the decisions that state leaders have made to ease restrictions, especially in indoor setting...
02/18/2021
Why Opening Restaurants Is Exactly What the Coronavirus Wants Us to Do

Public health experts said the decisions that state leaders have made to ease restrictions, especially in indoor settings, are “reckless," “entirely irresponsible,” and ignore the lessons of European countries slammed by new variants.
https://propub.li/3cR2Nsg

Governors continue to open indoor dining and other activities before vaccinations become widespread. Experts warn this could create superspreading playgrounds for dangerous variants and squander our best shot at getting the pandemic under control.

For this to happen by the start of the next school year, trials need to prove the vaccine is safe and effective in child...
02/18/2021
Fauci: Vaccines for Kids as Young as First Graders Could Be Authorized by September

For this to happen by the start of the next school year, trials need to prove the vaccine is safe and effective in children. Experts say manufacturers aren’t moving quickly enough, and that this is important for achieving herd immunity and stopping the spread of variants. https://propub.li/2NmcZOW

For this to happen by the start of the next school year, trials need to prove the vaccine is safe and effective in children. Experts say manufacturers aren’t moving quickly enough, and that this is important for achieving herd immunity and stopping the spread of variants.

In one case, the review board recommended termination for an officer. Instead, he lost 10 vacation days. Similarly, two ...
02/18/2021
What It Looks Like When the New York City Police Commissioner Has “Unchecked Power” Over Officer Discipline

In one case, the review board recommended termination for an officer. Instead, he lost 10 vacation days. Similarly, two cases where the board called for a termination ended with 5 and 4 days of lost vacation time, respectively.
https://propub.li/3rT4cTI

While a civilian board can prosecute misconduct cases involving NYPD officers, the police commissioner has the final word. Frequently, that power is used to reduce penalties.

Leah's court-appointed attorney quickly began to exercise orchestrated control. In daily texts, he reminded her of meeti...
02/18/2021
She Was Afraid of Her Lawyer. Then the Text Messages Started.

Leah's court-appointed attorney quickly began to exercise orchestrated control.

In daily texts, he reminded her of meetings, offered rides to court...

But he also sent photos of his genitals and repeatedly asked her to meet for oral sex or intercourse. https://propub.li/3dcjD54

Leah Kerwin started receiving daily texts and videos explicitly requesting oral sex or intercourse. They came from her court-appointed attorney, who had already been suspended for other misconduct.

The housing authority in one of the country's richest cities has aggressively pursued some of its poorest residents. In ...
02/18/2021
She Was Sued Over Rent She Didn’t Owe. It Took Seven Court Dates to Prove She Was Right.

The housing authority in one of the country's richest cities has aggressively pursued some of its poorest residents. In just one year, it filed more than 1,200 court cases against residents, suing for amounts as little as $5.
https://propub.li/37dDxsN

In one of the country’s richest cities, the public housing authority aggressively sued its residents, filing complaints for amounts as little as $5. Some residents were sued over the authority’s own mistakes.

New: In Los Angeles County and around the country, doctors have had to decide who gets a lifesaving COVID-19 treatment a...
02/18/2021
Dying on the Waitlist

New: In Los Angeles County and around the country, doctors have had to decide who gets a lifesaving COVID-19 treatment and who doesn’t. https://propub.li/3pxVJ6y

In Los Angeles County and around the country, doctors have had to decide who gets a lifesaving COVID-19 treatment and who doesn’t.

When Ellen Trawick finally got to see the footage, it confirmed her suspicions about the killing of her son, a personal ...
02/18/2021
It Wasn’t the First Time the NYPD Killed Someone in Crisis. For Kawaski Trawick, It Only Took 112 Seconds.

When Ellen Trawick finally got to see the footage, it confirmed her suspicions about the killing of her son, a personal trainer & aspiring dancer who'd struggled with addiction & other mental health issues.

The NYPD’s account was far from the full story.
https://propub.li/3qpgyCK

Trawick was alone in his apartment when an officer pushed open the door. He was holding a bread knife and a stick. “Why are you in my home?” he asked. He never got an answer.

“The idea that crime is sort of a whack-a-mole game, that if you just press here it’ll move over here,” is wrong, says R...
02/18/2021
How Dollar Stores Became Magnets for Crime and Killing

“The idea that crime is sort of a whack-a-mole game, that if you just press here it’ll move over here,” is wrong, says Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at @umsl.

“Crime is opportunistic... If there’s no opportunity, there’s no crime.” https://propub.li/3d8RbRS

Discount chains are thriving — while fostering violence and neglect in poor communities.

How Work-at-Home Customer Service Agents Pay To WorkArise Virtual Solutions gets has clients like AT&T and Disney. Its b...
02/18/2021

How Work-at-Home Customer Service Agents Pay To Work

Arise Virtual Solutions gets has clients like AT&T and Disney. Its business model requires customer service reps to pay for their own equipment and training, along with fees from each paycheck.

https://propub.li/3tNIDFK

For months, we investigated how wealthy towns keep themselves exclusive. They speak in what many see as code: - frail pu...
02/17/2021
Separated by Design: How Some of America’s Richest Towns Fight Affordable Housing

For months, we investigated how wealthy towns keep themselves exclusive.

They speak in what many see as code:

- frail public infrastructure
- clogged streets
- a lack of sidewalks
- concerns over “neighborhood character”
https://propub.li/2Nk6j3G

In southwest Connecticut, the gap between rich and poor is wider than anywhere else in the country. Invisible walls created by local zoning boards and the state government block affordable housing and, by extension, the people who need it.

After paying about $1,500 for home office equipment: a computer, two headsets and a phone line dedicated to Arise; after...
02/17/2021
Meet the Customer Service Reps for Disney and Airbnb Who Have to Pay to Talk to You

After paying about $1,500 for home office equipment: a computer, two headsets and a phone line dedicated to Arise; after paying Arise to run a check on her background; after passing Arise’s voice-assessment test and signing Arise’s nondisclosure form; after paying for and passing Arise’s introductory training, to which she devoted three days, unpaid; after paying for and passing a certification course to provide customer service for Arise client AT&T, to which she devoted 44 unpaid days; after then being informed she had to get more training yet — an additional 10 days, for which she was told she would be paid, but wasn’t; and then, after finally getting a chance to sign up for hours and do work for which she would be paid (except for her time spent waiting for technical support, or researching customer issues, or huddling with supervisors), Tami Pendergraft spent three weeks fielding telephone calls from AT&T customers, after which she received a single paycheck.

For $96.12.

https://propub.li/3aUvl1v

Arise Virtual Solutions, part of the secretive world of work-at-home customer service, helps large corporations shed costs at the expense of workers. Now the pandemic is creating a boom in the industry.

The United States is at an inflection point: Variants are beginning to rise while the vaccine rollout is only just kicki...
02/17/2021
Why Opening Restaurants Is Exactly What the Coronavirus Wants Us to Do

The United States is at an inflection point: Variants are beginning to rise while the vaccine rollout is only just kicking off. But governors keep on easing restrictions.
https://propub.li/3ahSJH7

Governors continue to open indoor dining and other activities before vaccinations become widespread. Experts warn this could create superspreading playgrounds for dangerous variants and squander our best shot at getting the pandemic under control.

New: On Tuesday, the 2nd Circuit rejected unions’ appeal to keep NYPD discipline records secret. ProPublica published th...
02/17/2021
A Federal Appeals Court Has Ruled in Favor of Releasing NYPD Discipline Records

New: On Tuesday, the 2nd Circuit rejected unions’ appeal to keep NYPD discipline records secret. ProPublica published thousands of those files last year. “The cat is not only out of the bag, it’s running around the streets,” one judge noted then. https://propub.li/2NuUBDz

On Tuesday, the 2nd Circuit rejected unions’ appeal to keep NYPD discipline records secret. ProPublica published thousands of those files last year. “The cat is not only out of the bag, it’s running around the streets,” one judge noted then.

" I let those men walk free, because I was not strong enough to endure what had happened to me over again.”https://propu...
02/17/2021
Unheard

" I let those men walk free, because I was not strong enough to endure what had happened to me over again.”

https://propub.li/3jpZZDX

Alaska has the highest rate of sexual assault in the nation. These women and men did not choose to be violated, but they now choose to speak about what happened.

Wren was no ordinary event planner. She served as deputy to Don Jr.’s girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle at Trump Victory. In...
02/17/2021
Text Messages Show Top Trump Campaign Fundraiser’s Key Role Planning the Rally That Preceded the Siege

Wren was no ordinary event planner. She served as deputy to Don Jr.’s girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle at Trump Victory. In a text about the budget of the Jan. 6 event, she mentions Justin Caporale, a former top aide to Melania Trump. https://propub.li/2Z5LxaT

Caroline Wren, a Trump fundraiser, is listed as a “VIP Advisor” in a National Park Service permit for the Jan. 6th rally at the Ellipse. Text messages and a planning memo show the title downplays the active role she played in organizing the event.

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