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Pulitzer Center Update May 18, 2022

Bar Association Recognizes Pulitzer Center-Supported Project on Police Misconduct

Dozens of police officers cross a street.

Several roadblocks stand in the way of police accountability. Some are legal—qualified immunity; the...

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Multiple Authors

The Pulitzer Center-supported magazine Legal Roadblocks to Police Accountability received an honorable mention from the American Bar Association’s 2022 Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts, which recognize print and digital media efforts to inform the public on American law and its legal system.

This year, there were eight winners and four honorable mentions after 29 finalists were announced in March. The police accountability project was a finalist in the "Magazines" category.

Legal Roadblocks was produced by the Gateway Journalism Review in a collaboration that involved more than 20 student and professional journalists and law students. Pulitzer Center Campus Consortium Adviser William H. Freivogel led the team's efforts.

Using explanatory and investigative stories, the project had the goal of explaining the legal, governmental, and organizational loopholes police use to evade accountability. The collaboration included work from TV, radio, newspaper, and website journalists across digital and print formats.

Grantees Kallie Cox and Orli Sheffey contributed to the report with their work on how police departments and unions keep misconduct records hidden and how laws for reform have stalled in Missouri.

The project details the ways in which civil rights violations by police are handled at the state and federal levels, often with impunity. Covering special legal privileges that police enjoy, their presence at the front lines of mental health crises, the history of how officials tried to reform police culture in the past, and more, the report gives a thorough analysis of how the law works to obscure and otherwise dismiss police misconduct.

Download the reporting here.