Best of the AP

Best of the Week - First Winner Sept. 17, 2021

AP investigation reveals pattern of beatings, shrouded in secrecy, by Louisiana State Police

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Law enforcement reporters Jim Mustian and Jake Bleiberg built on their previous reporting to document a devastating pattern of violence and secrecy at the Louisiana State Police, identifying at least a dozen beating cases over the past decade in which troopers or their bosses ignored or concealed evidence, deflected blame and impeded efforts to root out misconduct.

Their exclusive investigation stems from the deadly 2019 arrest of Ronald Greene — initially blamed on a car crash. That case was blown open this spring when the AP published long-withheld video showing state troopers stunning, punching and dragging the Black motorist as he pleaded for mercy. Mustian and Bleiberg proceeded to scour investigative records and work sources, finding a disproportionate use of force against Louisiana’s Black population and an absence of transparency and accountability in the agency.

Impact from this latest story was swift, from the head of the state police to a Louisiana congressman and others calling for investigation and reform.

For dogged reporting that peeled back the layers of case after case to reveal a pattern of abuse — and is effecting change in Louisiana — Mustian and Bleiberg earn AP’s Best of the Week — First Winner.

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Best of the Week - Second Winner Sept. 17, 2021

AP journalists share deeply personal stories of Afghanistan and traumas that endure

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As the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approached, two AP journalists inextricably tied to the war in Afghanistan turned in stunning introspective accounts of wounds both seen and unseen.

AP investigative reporter James LaPorta watched his young son dancing and jumping, and tells an indelible story of another boy — one that haunts him after two tours as a U.S. Marine.

And while making photos for a story about Tokyo-bound Paralympians, staff photographer Emilio Morenatti was motivated to look for answers to his own story, adapting to life after losing a leg to an explosion in Afghanistan.

For sharing intimate, heart-wrenching experiences rooted in the war in Afghanistan, and giving readers personal insight into a major news story, Emilio Morenatti and James LaPorta are AP’s Best of the Week — Second Winners.

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