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 "violence" ...

  • Over the Line

    Fatal shootings by U.S. Border Patrol agents were once a rarity. Only a handful were recorded before 2009. Unheard of were incidents of Border Patrol agents shooting Mexicans on their own side of the border. But a joint investigation by the Washington Monthly, The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, and the television network Fusion has found that over the past five years U.S. border agents have shot across the border at least ten times, killing a total of six Mexicans on Mexican soil. A former Clinton administration official who worked on border security issues couldn’t recall a single cross-border shooting during his tenure. “Agents would go out of their way not to harm anyone and certainly not shoot across the border,” he said. But following a near doubling of the number of Border Patrol agents between 2006 and 2009, a disturbing pattern of excessive use of force emerged. For “Over the Line,” we traveled to several Mexican border towns, tracking down family members of victims, eye-witnesses to the shootings, amateur video, Mexican police reports, audiotapes, and autopsies to recreate the circumstances surrounding these cross-border killings. We recount the stories of several of them, including 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodriguez, a studious Mexican teen who dreamed of becoming a soldier to fight the violence that plagued his hometown of Nogales, Sonora, and who was shot and killed by U.S. border agents as he walked to pick his brother up after work. The first two shots were to the boy’s head; he was shot eight more times as he lay, prone and bleeding, on the sidewalk. Although Border Patrol protocols and international treaties between Mexico and the United States appear to have been violated by these cross border shootings, none of the agents involved have yet been prosecuted. If any agents have been relieved of their duties for their role in the incidents, that information has not been made available to the public, and our queries to Customs and Border Protection on this issue have been denied. The Washington Monthly story was accompanied by two broadcasts that aired at the launch of the news network Fusion, a joint project of ABC News and Univision. These reports delve into two of the more troubling incidents in greater depth. “Investigation Shows Mexican Teen Was Shot 8 Times on the Ground” tells the story of Rodriguez, the teenager killed in Nogales; “U.S. Border Patrol Shoots and Kills Mexican Man in Park with Family” uses amateur video and eyewitness testimony to tell the even more shocking story of Arevalo Pedroza, shot and killed by US border agents who fired into a crowd of picnickers on the Mexico side of the Rio Grande in September 2012.
  • SPECIAL FORCES COMBAT OUTPOST PIRELLI

    “SPECIAL FORCES COMBAT OUTPOST PIRELLI” (by Alex Quade) --- When the U.S. military officially departed Iraq due to the Status of Forces Agreement deadline, a little known part of the handover included leaving behind secret Special Forces’ “Team houses” — or “safe houses” — hidden around the country. One was built by Green Beret Staff Sergeant Rob Pirelli and his Operational Detachment Alpha -072, or “A-Team.” Pirelli, of the Army’s 10th Special Forces Group, built the combat outpost in a remote part of Diyala Province, near the Iranian border, in 2007. As a lone reporter, I was there at the combat outpost’s beginning stages, then spent 2-years covering these same, secretive Special Forces “A-Teams” on multiple deployments. During one combat mission, Green Beret Staff Sgt. Pirelli was killed in action during an ambush. His heroism saved his 12-Special Forces teammates, and the Iraqis his unit was advising. As a reporter, I made the commitment to follow Pirelli’s “A-Team” and his “Gold Star Family” for 5-years after he was killed; I also went back to Combat Outpost Pirelli repeatedly over the years. My 40-page, two-part, special online article (with photos and video), covered two different investigative, journalistic themes. First: over time, how Pirelli’s family and teammates found ways (both successful and unsuccessful) to deal with the loss; as well as an inside look at how Special Forces command/headquarters handle a soldier killed in action. Second: using the Combat Outpost as a metaphorical barometer, I documented the change in the Special Forces’ mission in that part of Iraq, as well as the U.S. military’s role, and the progress or regress into violence, over 5-years.
  • Two Gunshots

    From the moment the police found Michelle O’Connell, a young, single mother, dying from a gunshot to the head, there were troubling questions about what happened inside the house in St. Augustine, Florida. The fatal shot came from the service weapon of her boyfriend, a local sheriff’s deputy. O’Connell had just broken up with him and was packing to move out of his house. And barely an hour before she died, O’Connell had texted her sister to say she would soon be there to pick up her four-year-old daughter. Yet, none of this troubled detectives from the St. John’s County Sheriff’s – all fellow officers of O’Connell’s boyfriend. Within hours, they concluded that O’Connell had committed suicide. Those critical questions remained unanswered for nearly two years, until Walt Bogdanich, an investigative reporter for The New York Times, began examining the death of Michelle O’Connell – a case that had deeply divided law enforcement agencies in Florida and raised broader issues of how the police investigate one of their own, particularly in instances of domestic violence. Bogdanich found that the criminal justice system had failed almost from the moment the fatal shot was fired. Evidence wasn’t collected. Neighbors weren’t canvassed. Important interviews were not conducted. Medical examiners concocted absurd theories to support the suicide conclusion and prosecutors blindly endorsed them. The Times’s investigation, conducted in conjunction with the PBS investigative program Frontline, was part of a broader examination of how the police deal with the corrosive and persistent problem of domestic violence in their ranks.
  • Cop Sells Gun to Mentally Ill Man

    Reporter Martha Bellisle’s series of stories on the sale of a gun by a Reno police sergeant to a 19-year-old mentally ill man, who it turned out was prohibited by law from having a gun, revealed questionable behavior by a law enforcement officer and sparked nationwide debates about the lack of background checks on private party gun sales. Her investigation also exposed flaws in the court system. After first reporting on the gun sale, Bellisle discovered that the Washoe District Court had failed to send the young man’s name to a database of people who are not allowed to have a gun. That investigation prompted the chief justice of the Nevada Supreme Court to order a statewide review of all Nevada courts to see if they were properly reporting people adjudicated with a mental illness to the National Instant Background Check System, or NICS. The audit revealed that almost 2,000 people had been missed by courts across the state and had not been included in that database. Some of those people had histories of violence. The courts fixed the process and the debate on background checks for all gun sales continues.
  • Sex offenses on campus

    This story uncovered the causes for an incredibly low rate of reporting and prosecution for sex offenses at the University of Missouri. As many people know, universities have especially high rates of sexual victimization, such as rape, and especially low rates of prosecution for those crimes. My investigation, which took more than a year because of resistance from campus officials, revealed that only two sex offenses were ever reported to the student disciplinary office in 2012. Sexual violence survey data suggests the actual number of violations was more likely in the thousands, and nearly 100 violations were reported to campus police or the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center. Throughout my reporting I discovered legal barriers, indifference among law enforcement, lack of communication and social phenomena that all contribute to this incredibly low rate. The article showed that prosecution for sex offenses at the University of Missouri is extremely rare, perhaps even more rare than prosecution in the state court system.
  • A 911 Call's Deadly Aftermath

    In 2013 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette followed up on a tip that police visited the house of a woman 24 hours before she was killed in response to her disconnected 911 call. We quickly learned that there were numerous problems with the police response, which we documented in a series of stories. Police never spoke to or saw the caller; they talked only to a man at the house through a window (who turned out to be her killer); they never called a supervisor for guidance; and they could have been more aggressive in their efforts. We also reported that the situation was eerily similar to one 25 years earlier. Our stories led to new police protocols for handling domestic violence and “unknown trouble” calls as well as new powers for the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board to review future police bureau policies.
  • Judge Berates Domestic Violence Victim

    Judge’s treatment of a woman seeking protection from her husband
  • Hess Oil's Russian Mob Problem

    Boris Yeltsin once called Russia “the biggest mafia state in the world, the superpower of crime,” and in the 16 years since Yeltsin’s observation, things have only gotten worse, not better. So what was one of America’s biggest energy companies, Hess Corp., doing smack in the middle of a region controlled by a notorious mob organization known as the Indeitsy? That’s what Forbes investigative reporter Richard Behar, an experienced writer on Russian crime, wanted to know. “Hess Oil’s Russian Mob Problem” is the result of extensive and long-cultivated sourcing by Behar in the region, and methodically details an unmistakable pattern of threats, intimidation, violence, legal collusion and kickbacks by the Indeitsy—empowered by its Hess connections—at the expense of anyone perceived even remotely to be standing in its way. As a result of Behar’s reporting, Hess took immediate action, severing itself from its most direct connection the Russian mafia, and eventually divesting itself of the enterprise entirely.
  • Waiting to React: Tennessee's child protection failures

    A lawmaker's concern about child deaths triggered a probing and ongoing Tennessean investigation into the failings and illegal practices of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. The newspaper detailed how the department broke the law by not reporting deaths to lawmakers; failed to keep accurate fatality statistics; allowed thousands of child abuse hotline calls to go unanswered; struggled to handle a spike in violence at youth detention centers; and adopted adversarial positions against child advocates, lawmakers, police and the agencies that oversee the department. Led by two reporters, the newspaper has exposed the department's $37 million computer installation debacle, shortcomings in how officials contract with private companies, and how a wave of abrupt senior-level firings made DCS one of the most volatile departments in Tennessee government. Through records requests, data analyses, close readings of reports and audits, and persistent questioning, The Tennessean penetrated the secretive $650 million department and provided a level of accountability just as the department has moved to dismantle other forms of oversight. The reporting prompted Gov. Bill Haslam to personally review DCS case files and forced the department to comply with fatality notification laws. An ongoing open records lawsuit led by The Tennessean and backed by the state's largest ever media coalition now seeks to force DCS to make child fatality records available to the media and the public for the first time.
  • Rikers Violence: Out of Control; Rikers Con Job

    An investigation into the violence in the New York City jail system.