As the state-sanctioned killings and subsequent non-convictions of police involved in the deaths of too many innocent Black people have proved, there is a profound lack of accountability when it comes to policing in the United States. But beyond the incidents themselves, who is tracking police who have escaped punishment, to ensure that they do no further harm?
This was the focus of “Full Disclosure,” a yearlong investigation by local Arizona news station ABC15 (KNXV), which is one of the winners in the news category of this year’s Peabody Awards. Per a press release sent to The Root:
The relationship between citizens and law enforcement should be rooted in trust. And as the United States grapples with ongoing calls for police reform, questions of trust cannot be uncoupled from discussions on transparency and accountability, two issues that are at the heart of “Full Disclosure.” Digging into Arizona’s “Brady list,” a system designed to track police officers with histories of lying and committing crimes in hopes of keeping various departments accountable, this hour-long special offers a stark portrait not only of why the system is broken, but why it’s never been fixed. The team at ABC15, led by Dave Biscobing, presented the findings of their yearlong investigation with exhaustive reporting, combing through endless files on cops who got bounced from department to department, and showing how it affected cases all over the state. The stories in themselves—of planted evidence and unwarranted violence and cruelty, of information withheld and outright obfuscated—may be incredible enough. But the video footage that accompanies them, the careful laying out of how law enforcement agencies rarely adhere to their own legal standards in keeping and disseminating such misconduct reports is as damning as it is enlightening. For exemplifying how committed local journalism can effectively serve its viewers and push for greater accountability from those in power, “Full Disclosure” wins a Peabody Award.
Activist Brittany Packnett Cunningham presented the award to the ABC15 team, giving an impassioned speech about why it’s so vital that the media be among those holding the police accountable. The Peabodys were gracious enough to give The Root the first look:
The rest of the 81st Annual Peabody Awards are being presented on social media from 12 to 1:30 p.m. ET, with a list of celebrity presenters that includes America Ferrera, Brittany Packnett Cunningham, Charlamagne tha God, Chris Rock, Cynthia Erivo, D. L. Hughley, Deborah Roberts, Emmanuel Acho, Eva Longoria, Goldie Hawn, Guillermo del Toro, Hasan Minhaj, Jane Fonda, Jemele Hill, Karl-Anthony Towns, Keith Ellison, Kristen Bell, Natasha Lyonne, Oprah Winfrey, Questlove, Raoul Peck, Ronan Farrow, Sandra Oh, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Selma Blair, Soledad O’Brien, Steve Carell, Taraji P. Henson, Thandiwe Newton, Trevor Noah, and Will Ferrell.