PHOENIX — A pair of ABC15 investigations have been jointly awarded one of the highest honors in journalism: The Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award.
The duPont-Columbia Awards are considered the broadcast equivalent of the Pulitzer Prizes.
ABC15 is being honored for “Full Disclosure” and “Politically Charged,” separate investigations that exposed widespread and systemic misconduct by Arizona police and prosecutors.
“Reporter Dave Biscobing’s investigations of the Phoenix Police Department relentlessly connected the dots to depict a police force operating like a police state, simmering with racist and political resentment, and rife with malfeasance,” according to the press released issued by the duPont-Columbia Awards, announcing the winners.
In Full Disclosure, ABC15 exposed widespread and systemic 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 dozens 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.
ABC15 previously won a duPont-Columbia Award in 2018 for its “Cash for Compliance” investigation.