ABC15's "Politically Charged" investigation has won the prestigious George Polk Award — a rare honor for local television news.
Chief Investigative Reporter Dave Biscobing and the ABC15 Investigators join 14 other winners, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and PBS Frontline.
The awards were established in 1949 by Long Island University to commemorate George Polk, a CBS correspondent murdered in 1948 while covering the Greek civil war. The awards, which place a premium on investigative and enterprising reporting that gains attention and achieves results, are conferred annually to honor special achievement in journalism, according to a press release announcing the 2021 winners.
In the past 20 years, only a handful of local news stations have been honored with a George Polk award.
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.
"Politically Charged" was recently presented with the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award — the broadcast news equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize.