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ABC15 Wins duPont-Columbia Award for Investigative Journalism

Topic: Investigative Reporting
Posted on 2/8/2022

ABC15 received a 2022 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, one of the highest honors in journalism, for a pair of investigations uncovering police and prosecutor misconduct in Arizona.

ABC15 is being honored for “Full Disclosure” and “Politically Charged,” separate investigations that exposed widespread and systemic misconduct by Arizona police and prosecutors.

In “Full Disclosure,” ABC15 exposed problems with Arizona’s so-called “Brady” lists, which are supposed to track police officers with documented histories of dishonesty, false arrests, crimes and integrity concerns. The series included more than two dozen reports plus a pair of documentary specials. The reporting proved state law enforcement agencies routinely failed to track problematic officers, disclose their misconduct and hold them accountable. For the first time anywhere, ABC15 also compiled and published a statewide database of “Brady” list officers.

In “Politically Charged,” ABC15 dismantled a scheme by Phoenix Police officers and Maricopa County prosecutors to target and falsely charge a group of protesters as gang members. The station’s investigation also proved officials routinely exaggerated and lied in multiple other protest cases throughout 2020. The series directly led to the dismissal of every open felony protest case in Phoenix — 39 of them. The Department of Justice also launched a sweeping pattern-of-practice investigation.

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