Covering the criminal justice system involves a lot more than reporting on crime and punishment. Journalists also have a responsibility to hold police officers and the agencies they work for accountable. Using public records and internal sources, KING 5 identified problem officers in the King County Sheriff’s Department and exposed how citizen complaints were ignored and patterns of police misconduct were tolerated, damaging public trust.
In nearly any job, if you break the rules, disobey orders and rack up complaints, you will be fired. The rules are different if you are a police officer. KING’s stories exposed two deputies who kept their jobs despite behaving like bullies with a badge. The reports prompted the Sheriff to take action. One deputy was disciplined and reassigned. The series also caught the attention of the Department of Justice. The same deputy is now under federal investigation for committing possible civil rights violations under the color of the law. The second deputy was fired. Also – the Sheriff admitted more scrutiny was needed in their use of force cases and ordered a review of how the department handles them.
"Bully with a Badge" was recently awarded the 2012 National Edward R. Murrow Award for Continuing Coverage in the Television: Large Market category.
Watch any story in the continuing investigative series "Bully with a Badge:”
January 9, 2013 - King County pays jaywalker $75,000 to settle excessive force suit
May 25, 2012 – Family of man brain damaged by King Co. deputy asking for $3.5m more
April 24, 2012 – Urquhart stresses accountability in King County Sheriff campaign
February 28, 2012 – DOJ investigates King County deputy’s use of force
February 16, 2012 – Email reignites controversy surrounding a deputy’s use of force
December 20, 2011 – Is it too hard to fire a problem cop?
November 22, 2011 – Internal recordings shed light on fired deputy’s actions
November 9, 2011 – Deputy fired for ‘lack of integrity’
November 3, 2011 – Deputy is target of 22 internal investigations
May 25, 2011 – Concerns about deputy’s use of force raised years ago
May 11, 2011 – Sheriff admits more scrutiny needed in use of force cases
May 9, 2011 – Frequent force by King County cop continues even after tragic case