Investigation: Blacks, black neighborhoods most likely to be traffic stop targets in Ohio’s 3 biggest cities
By Max Londberg and Lucia Walinchus
Video by Michael Nyerges
Reporters from the nonprofit newsroom Eye on Ohio, The Cincinnati Enquirer and researchers from Stanford University’s Big Local News program examined police stops to assess how the three largest communities in Ohio use public safety resources and to identify potential bias in policing. Followed in a public park and forced to leave. Cuffed and questioned for whistling while waiting for a bus. Pulled over for spending too much time at a gas station. Some black drivers and pedestrians in Cincinnati say they’ve been unfairly stopped and questioned by police.
“It seems to be if you are a minority, you’re a target and you’re automatically doing something wrong,” said Michelle Cameron, a black resident who lives in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Westwood.
More help is on the way, but will it be enough? This article is from Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join theirfree mailing list, as this helps provide more public service reporting. Janet Cook’s utility bills are stacking up and she doesn’t have enough money to pay them. The 62-year-old Clevelander’s main source of income is monthly Social Security disability checks.
Lots of forfeiture money goes to association outside of public purview; giving checks directly to kids
This article is from Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join their free mailing list, as this helps provide more public service reporting. When the Vinton County Fair was canceled because of the pandemic, outgoing County Prosecutor Trecia Kimes-Brown wrote $100 checks to every child who completed a 4-H project this year. She did so in the name of anti-drug education through her Law Enforcement Trust Fund (LETF) account.
The move stoked the ire of Vinton County Auditor Cindy Waugh, who did not like the fact that Kimes-Brown gave cash directly to people right before her reelection campaign. (Though Kimes-Brown eventually lost anyway.)
The death of Breonna Taylor renewed interest in police forfeiture raids, and Eye on Ohio asked every prosecutor about their LETF accounts, the fund that benefits from seized cash. Eye on Ohio found:
This article is from Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join their free mailing list, as this helps provide more public service reporting. Amid a raging pandemic, Ohio’s agency responsible for looking out for workers’ welfare has started posting full-time temporary jobs with no benefits for its own workforce.
For example, this week the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) sought to hire an “electronic design specialist,” a job that requires a bachelor’s degree, years of experience, or some combination of both. The hours listed are full time, with a schedule that is “not negotiable” and the position is “not eligible” for benefits.
As total COVID-19 cases in the state soared to nearly 600,000 and deaths rose to almost 8,000, Eye on Ohio asked why the positions are listed without medical benefits when large employers have to give most of their workforce— even temporary workers— medical insurance eventually under the Affordable Care Act, or pay a penalty.
A spokesman for ODJFS said “Benefit eligibility under the ACA for temporary or part-time positions is determined based on the length of time employed and hours worked during that period of time.”
Eye on Ohio further inquired if the positions have a set end date and why officials listed positions with no health care as the chances of getting a debilitating disease have risen. Officials did not respond to multiple requests to comment.
Each job posting begins with, “The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ mission is to improve the well-being of Ohio's workforce and families by promoting economic self-sufficiency and ensuring the safety of Ohio's most vulnerable citizens.”
But it’s not clear if ODJFS’ own workers could be self-sufficient with its own positions: according to Heatlhcare.gov, a monthly premium for a nonsmoking family of four in Columbus is approximately $810. That’s about 24% of what an ODJFS electronic design would make after taxes.
Ohio juvenile court Judge Timothy Grendell thought coronavirus precautions were overblown, and made sure people knew it. In one case he forbade a mother from getting her children tested for COVID-19. Then, one of them had to go to the emergency room. ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published.
5 media outlets, Harvard Law’s Cyberlaw Clinic, and 16 data journalists, including Eye on Ohio join effort to gain access to federal database records
This article is from Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join their free mailing list, as this helps provide more public service reporting. On Thursday, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said authorities must hand over database records just as if they were paper records in a file cabinet.
Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw wrote: “Government transparency is critical to ensure the people have the information needed to check public corruption, hold government leaders accountable, and elect leaders who will carry out their preferred policies.”
Reveal, the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), originally sued for records in November 2017. The Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) never responded. ATF’s gun tracing database lists 6.8 million firearms linked to criminal activity.
Critics question whether the former Ohio utility commission chair should have recused himself more often to avoid any appearance of bias. This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please join our free mailing list or the mailing list for the Energy New Network as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Concerns about the outsized influence of utility and fossil fuel interests have resurfaced as the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio begins steps to name a new commissioner after the sudden exit of Chair Sam Randazzo.
Randazzo resigned on Nov. 20 after an FBI team had searched his home and FirstEnergy released a mandatory quarterly report to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join our free mailing list as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Updated: Additional data from Nov. 21-24 released on Nov. 27.
ByBoniface Womber, Bonnie Jean Feldkamp and Kathiann M. Kowalski |
33 hospitals report they have no critical care bed and/or medical/surgery bed for adult patients on October 30
This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join our free mailing list as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Despite an October 20 court order issued by the Ohio Court of Claims, the Ohio Department of Health still had not released complete records as of late Wednesday night, claiming they needed several days to release information from a database that is updated daily. During Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s November 17 press conference, Governor DeWine said that the information with the current number of beds, ventilators, and other medical equipment available for each Ohio hospital will be released on a daily basis. “There is no reason why we can’t release that that I am aware of,” DeWine said.
Statements could support broad scope for PUCO-ordered audit
This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit Energy News Network. Please join our free mailing list or the mailing list for the Energy New Network as this helps us provide more public service reporting. FirstEnergy’s legal papers in a regulatory case state it can’t categorically deny that money from Ohio ratepayers was spent for activities related to the state’s nuclear and coal bailout law. The limited comments could support a broad scope for an independent audit ordered by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio earlier this month. The PUCO may come under increased scrutiny in the wake of FBI agents’ Nov.
Court of Claims Rules that the Ohio Department of Health must disclose the number of beds and other equipment available
This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join our free mailing list as this helps us provide more public service reporting. As the ongoing pandemic continues to surge, the Ohio Court of Claims ruled last week that the Department of Health must share public records with Eye on Ohio, showing the number of beds and ventilators available for COVID-19 patients at individual hospitals throughout the state.
The ruling comes seven months after Eye on Ohio initially sought the records.
“In times of crisis transparency is paramount,” said Rebekah Crawford, who has her Ph.D. in Health Communication, Relating & Organizing from Ohio University. People want credibility and clear lines around what is known and what is uncertain. “When risk communicators are at their best,” Crawford said, “they remain credible by showing what is known and what is not known and by being clear about why we don’t know, and what we’re going to do to find out.”
When Eye on Ohio first requested records, at the end of March, the state had only about 2,200 confirmed cases and 55 deaths, according to the online Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.