Long Beach Post among dozens of newsrooms recognized with public service award for police accountability project

A police accountability project undertaken by dozens of newsrooms across the state, including the Long Beach Post, has been recognized with a public service award.

The California Reporting Project received the recognition Wednesday from the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for “Unsealed: California’s Secret Police Misconduct and Use-of-Force Files.”

The project looked into police use-of-force and misconduct records following the landmark passing of SB 1421 in 2019, a law that granted access to documents never before seen by the public.

Over 100 stories were published on abuses of power, false arrests and officers fired for misconduct only to be rehired by other agencies, according to KQED, which submitted the work on behalf of the coalition.

Newsrooms including the Long Beach Post, Los Angeles Times, KPCC and the Southern California News Group sent over a dozen requests for records to the Long Beach Police Department and other local agencies.

As a result, the Long Beach Post published half a dozen articles, including one about statistics showing Long Beach police officers are rarely disciplined after shooting someone and another about an LBPD officer who was fired after a prosecutor said he dodged subpoenas and tried to sabotage a DUI case.

The coalition previously received a free speech award in 2019 for the project.

“Public service journalism, like the the Unsealed project, is essential to our mission at the Long Beach Post, but this works comes at great cost, largely supported by financial support from our readers. This work required hundreds of hours of reporting time by multiple Post staffers and financial resources to submit work and provide legal representation. We can’t do it without the help of our contributors,” said Post publisher David Sommers.

“If you support investigative reporting like this, please consider supporting local news and donate to the Long Beach Post today.”

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Stephanie Rivera is the community engagement editor for the Long Beach Post. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015.