Who polices the police?
It’s a question that’s driven headlines across the country in recent years.
KPCC’s “Repeat” is a serialized podcast that shows how one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the country, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, investigates officers who shoot civilians. We found a system that is largely shielded from public scrutiny and raised questions about the secrecy of internal investigations.
The story began with several key data points we found by examining county public records:
While scanning the data, one case jumped off the page. Deputy Gonzalo Inzunza shot at four people in seven months. Reporter Annie GIlbertson dug deep into the cases. She examined the shooting evidence collected by investigators, talked to gang members he shot at and sought interviews with dozens in local law enforcement. In six podcast episodes, Annie revealed the tremendous power entrusted to local law enforcement leaders to investigate their own, shape the public narrative and dole out consequences.
“Repeat” has surpassed one million downloads and has had impact: The watchdog of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department launched an investigation into issues raised about police shooting investigation practices. Following the launch of “Repeat,” a California lawmaker introduced a bill to increase public access to police conduct records, and supporters cited the podcast, writing it “further illuminates the difficulties journalists have in accessing information about officer activity.” The bill is currently making its way through the legislature.