Cops and Credibility

three images of police merged in a triptych

After the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, Crosscut decided to find out how many officers in Washington state had landed on prosecutors’ lists of cops with credibility issues. These lists, commonly known as Brady lists, flag officers for issues such as lying, filing inaccurate reports, showing racial bias or using excessive force – anything that could cause an officer’s word to be questioned in court.

By examining prosecutors’ files across 39 Washington counties, Crosscut identified 183 cops who had been flagged by prosecutors as having credibility issues, yet who continued to work in law enforcement. Additional reporting revealed some of these officers had initially been fired for their actions, but were later reinstated through arbitration. Others had changed departments even after prosecutors labeled them as having credibility issues. One such officer was later elected as a city council member in the same town that had once pushed him out of its police department.