Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "Posse" ...

  • The Henry Pratt Mass Shooting

    On the afternoon of Feb. 15, disgruntled warehouse employee Gary Martin opened fire during a termination hearing at the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, Ill., killing five people and wounding several police officers before being fatally shot by law enforcement. Before police publicly identified Martin, the Tribune learned his name from sources and began investigating his background. One thing quickly became clear: Martin, a convicted felon who had served prison time for attempting to kill his girlfriend, never should have been allowed to purchase the gun used in the shooting. This discovery – aided by carefully worded Freedom of Information Act requests, unparalleled sourcing and a review of extensive court records – prompted the Illinois State Police to disclose hundreds of pages of documents related to Martin’s firearms license and gun purchase within days of the shooting. It was an unprecedented release of information, in terms of both expediency and subject manner. Illinois law expressly prohibits the disclosure of records related to firearm owner’s identification cards or concealed carried permits, but Tribune reporters were able to convince law-enforcement officials that Martin’s firearms history should be exempt from such protections because he fraudulently obtained his license by lying on his permit application. Upon receiving this information, reporters submitted further FOIAs in an effort to understand the depths of the state’s problem. A reporting project that started within hours of a mass shooting grew into an investigation that found 34,000 Illinois had their gun permits revoked – and that the state has no idea what happen to their guns. That meant 78 percent of people stripped of their gun licenses failed to account for their weapons. The responsive records – some of which required difficult fights and keen sourcing to obtain - exposed serious flaws in the national databases relied upon to conduct criminal background checks, as well as the state’s failure to ensure that people surrender their weapons after their Firearm Owner's Identification cards are revoked. In an analysis of data released for the first time, the Tribune found as many as 30,000 guns may still be in possession of people deemed too dangerous to own firearms. The Tribune also was able to create an online-lookup that allowed readers to look up how many people in their town had their gun permits stripped, the reason for the revocation and how many times that person had made a serious inquiry about purchasing a gun.
  • WSAW: A Dying Wish

    After receiving a letter from a woman who was found dead, WSAW-TV's investigative reporter uncovered loopholes regarding the creation of churches, all while discovering small mistakes made by a county, a state agency and a federal agency allowing a church, some trustees call fake, to exist.
  • Rocky Mountain PBS: Cultivating Crime

    “Cultivating Crime” took a deep dive into the underground world of illegal marijuana in Colorado. Coloradans thought legalizing marijuana would destroy the black market, but our investigation found it did the opposite. We revealed how law enforcement says Colorado is now a magnet for organized crime with international ties. Our investigation found that criminal prosecutions linked to the cultivation, conspiracy, and possession with intent to distribute of large amounts of marijuana increased dramatically after Colorado voters legalized the drug. Law enforcement officials said Colorado’s laws allowing home cultivation of marijuana opened the door for criminal organizations to move in from other parts of the world to grow large amounts of plants, under the cover of legalization, for sale in other states at much higher prices.
  • CBS News: New Tax Scam Tricks

    When tax preparer Annette Kraft in Duncan, Oklahoma, checked the status of her clients' tax returns in January, she was surprised to find all of them had been rejected."The code was 902-01," she said. "That means someone else has already filed a tax return." It turns out her clients were victims of a new tax scam intended to cheat them out of their refunds, and her town was ground zero in the scam. The criminals get their hands on returns from previous years, then use that information to file new fraudulent returns on unsuspecting victims. After the refund goes into the victim's bank account, the crooks, posing as debt collectors for the IRS, follow up with a phone call claiming the refund was an error, then directing them to a fraudulent website to return the money. "I had about $9,015 more than I anticipated," said Duncan police officer David Woods. He discovered that supposed refund one day as he checked his bank balance, but it didn't make sense because he hadn't filed his taxes yet. "I didn't get my W-2 to file my taxes," Woods said. He returned the money to the government, but now the IRS says his real refund will be delayed, possibly for months. He's not alone. At the local tire shop, 49-year-old Jerry Duvall told us his $5,800 return is more than two months late. "We planned on taking care of expenses, getting caught up on bills and we counted on it," Duvall said. He missed a $200 car payment, and on the very day we spoke with him, he told us his car was getting repossessed.At least 230 of Kraft's clients have been hit and face months of delays. Taxpayers like 91-year-old Ray Prothro found out about the scam from the IRS while we were there.
  • BuzzFeed: Contract Killer

    The story of one of America’s bloodiest hitmen — and the failures in the justice system that allowed him to murder the dispossessed with impunity for decades.
  • AP: Cops Sell Guns

    After a year’s worth of work, the AP found that law enforcement agencies in Washington state sold about 6,000 guns that had been confiscated during criminal investigations, and more than a dozen of those firearms later became evidence in new investigations. The weapons were used to threaten people, seized at gang hangouts, discovered in drug houses, possessed illegally by convicted felons, found hidden in a stolen car, taken from a man who was suffering a mental health crisis and used by an Army veteran to commit suicide.
  • ADG: Violent Reality

    Since 1999, more than 8,000 Arkansans have died by gunfire — about half of them suicides. Although many law enforcement officials and legislators say that gun-control laws might work, they are unwilling to act. The stories explore the effect of specific laws on gun violence in other states, suicide-prevention advocates' work with gun sellers to keep weapons out of suicidal individuals' possession, and federal law enforcement's efforts to keep guns out of the hands of felons.
  • Racial Arrest Breakdown

    The investigation used jail booking data to track the race and gender of every person charged with “Possession With Intent to Distribute Marijuana” in Greenville County over a period of several years. Then they used court records and law enforcement FOIAs to track the location of each arrest. Finally they used census data to understand the demographic composition of each neighborhood in the county. When they were finished, they’d found that black people were arrested for PWID at a far higher rate than white people, neighborhoods with the most black people saw far more arrests, and the rate of black people charged was disproportionate with the demographics in each area. They further established that black and white people use and sell the drug at similar rates meaning the discrepancy with arrests was due to differences in enforcement policy.
  • Repossessing boats and cars when their owners don't pay for them

    While the recession means hard times for most businesses, the repossession industry is soaring, especially in South Florida, where many boats are repossessed.
  • The War Over Continental Shelves

    Around the Korean peninsular, there are huge continental shelves which potentially possess excess amounts of valuable and natural resources such as gas and oil. In the Joint Development Zone, Korean and Japanese governments acquiesced to share this territory. Despite the agreement between Korea and Japan to develop underwater resources of the region jointly, skeptics have suspicions that when the treaty expires in 2028, the entire zone will become Japan's.