Polk Award-winning journalist, who broke the Laquan McDonald story in 2014, has released a major investigation of CPD’s code of silence
CHICAGO –(ENEWSPF)–October 12, 2016. Journalist Jamie Kalven published in The Intercept a four-part investigation of the operation of the “code of silence” within the Chicago Police Department. This weekend, the 20,000 word article will be distributed as a printed pamphlet in 400 locations across the city.
The story describes a massive criminal enterprise within the public housing unit and the fate of the narcotics officers who uncovered and investigated the criminal activities of their fellow officers. The principal source for the story is Police Officer Shannon Spalding, whom Kalven describes as “a Serpico for our time.”
The free printed publication features customized maps by MapBox and information about the Invisible Institute’s anonymous SecureDrop system for whistleblower tips. The initial distribution of 40,000 copies can be found through the weekend in select locations in the north, west, and south sides, and as an insert in the South Side Weekly. A map of pickup locations will be hosted on the Invisible Institute’s website. Readers outside of Chicago interested in the artifact can make a donation of any amount for the Invisible Institute to mail them a copy.
The Chicago pamphlet aims to ground the acclaim that The Intercept article has received online in its first week:
“This piece — more than four years in the making — might be his most powerful and best-reported investigation yet. […]
The story presents compelling evidence that a group of officers “taxed” drug dealers, ran their own criminal operations, and murdered those who challenged them. But even more harrowing is the examination of the mechanics of “not-knowing” — how an entire institution and city could craft a narrative that denied the possibility that such corruption could exist.”
-David Eads, NPR
“A gripping tale of cop corruption in Chicago […] It’s also a tale both of how mainstream media often blows law enforcement coverage and how potentially important stories run smack into journalistic conventions and just get lost.”
-James Warren, Poynter
Among the awards Kalven received for his Laquan McDonald reporting are the 2015 Polk Award for Local Reporting and the 2016 Ridenhour Courage Prize.
The Invisible Institute is a nonprofit Chicago-based journalistic production company that works to enhance the capacity of civil society to hold public institutions accountable. Toward that end, we develop strategies to expand and operationalize transparency. We seek to make visible perspectives too often excluded from public discourse. And we develop social interventions designed to leverage necessary reforms. Among the tools we employ are human rights documentation, investigative reporting, civil rights litigation, the curating of public information, conceptual art projects, and the orchestration of difficult public conversations.