Michael Balsamo, newsman, Washington; Alanna Durkin Richer, newswoman, Boston; and Colleen Long, acting news editor, Washington, analyzed hundreds of federal arrest records to determine how U.S. Department of Justice officials are handling protester arrests nationwide. The Trump administration has used the arrests to argue there is extreme violence in some cities.
The AP team combed through arrest records and created a database of some 300 arrests – some were serious, but others raised questions about their validity. Others were not related to left-wing violence at all, but rather right-wing or racist acts against the demonstrators themselves.
The Only-on-AP examination was complete with a graphic on the types of charges by Kevin Vineys, multimedia journalist based in Washington. The story was followed hours later with a pair of scoops by Balsamo – that the Justice Department had eyed possibly charging Portland officials with crimes, and that federal prosecutors had put together a memo on how to charge Americans with sedition.