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Topher Sanders

Reporter

Photo of Topher Sanders

Topher Sanders covers race, inequality and the justice system for ProPublica. His data-driven reporting on juvenile plea deals and the time Jacksonville juveniles spend in pre-trial detention facilities was a 2015 finalist for an Investigative Reporters and Editors award. His reporting on public-records concerns and questionable behavior by Jacksonville's elected public defender prompted Florida Gov. Rick Scott to order an investigation of the office in 2013. The investigation resulted in a scathing grand jury report asking Scott to remove the elected official.

In 2016 Sanders co-founded the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit working to increase the number of investigative reporters and editors of color. In 2017, he and colleague Ryan Gabrielson recieved the John Jay College/Harry Frank Guggenheim award for excellence in criminal justice reporting and an Aronson Award for social justice journalism for their multi-part series “Busted,” an investigation of the systematic misuse of roadside chemical field tests by police. In 2018, he and reporter Ben Conarck recieved the Paul Tobenkin award for race coverage and the Al Nakkula award for police reporting for their multi-part investigation “Walking While Black,” which explored how jaywalking citations are disproportionately given to black pedestrians. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Essence, Black Enterprise and Newsweek. He is a graduate of Tuskegee University and started his journalism career at The Montgomery Advertiser in Montgomery, Alabama.

Agency Policing Tent City for Immigrant Kids Lacks Experience Investigating Sex Crimes Involving Children

The Federal Protective Service, which primarily secures federal buildings, has been charged with responding to incidents at the shelter with 2,800 immigrant children in Tornillo, Texas.

“Humanitarian Crisis” Looms as Arizona Threatens to Revoke Immigrant Children Shelter Licenses

The state says Southwest Key displayed a “flippant attitude” after sexual abuse reports. But can the federal government survive without the largest operator of immigrant children shelters as Trump policies put the system near capacity?

Trabajador acusado de abusar sexualmente a ocho menores de edad en albergue para inmigrantes

Alegatos en contra de un cuidador de menores son lo último en una serie de acusaciones serias de abuso sexual en los albergues del gobierno para jóvenes inmigrantes.

Worker Charged With Sexually Molesting Eight Children at Immigrant Shelter

The allegations against the Southwest Key youth care worker are the latest in a series of serious accusations of sexual abuse inside the government’s immigrant youth shelters.

Refugios para jóvenes inmigrantes: “Si eres un depredador, es una mina de oro”

Obtuvimos informes policiales y registros de llamadas de más de dos tercios de los albergues que hospedan a niños inmigrantes. Esto es lo que muestran.

Immigrant Youth Shelters: “If You’re a Predator, It’s a Gold Mine”

We obtained police reports and call logs from more than two-thirds of the shelters housing immigrant children. Here’s what they show.

The Curious Case of the Twice-Fired FBI Analyst

Said Barodi, a Muslim American, had been deemed an “excellent” employee over a decade of work with the bureau before he was fired after a run-in at an airport. He won his appeal to get his job back, only to be fired again. He says his heritage made him a target. “I was the enemy within,” he says.

Jacksonville Sheriff Uses Misleading Data to Defend Pedestrian Ticketing

Sheriff Mike Williams has sought to counter the findings of racial disparities in pedestrian ticketing with his own set of numbers. They don’t add up.

NAACP Legal Defense Fund in Jacksonville Over Pedestrian Ticket Enforcement

Reporting by The Florida Times-Union and ProPublica prompts the Legal Defense Fund to start on-the-ground interviews.

The FBI — ‘Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity’ — Still Working on Diversity

The nation’s top federal law enforcement agency is overwhelmingly white, and its top officials acknowledge that’s “a huge operational risk.”

Sheriff’s Officers Working Black Section of Jacksonville to Get Bias Training

The effort comes as Jacksonville has seen controversial police shootings, arrests of activists and calls to suspend pedestrian ticketing in light of racial disparities.

Jacksonville City Council President and Local Public Defender Call for Suspension of Pedestrian Ticket Writing

A legal bulletin by the Jacksonville state attorney supports the finding that sheriff’s officers have been issuing hundreds of tickets in error, a disproportionate number of them to blacks.

Florida Police Issue Hundreds of Bad Pedestrian Tickets Every Year Because They Don’t Seem to Know the Law

The tickets for failing to cross in a crosswalk don’t just carry fines; they can damage credit rating and lead to the suspensions of driver’s licenses. A Florida Times-Union/ProPublica examination shows lots of them never should have been issued.

Pedestrian Tickets Lead to Hundreds of Suspended Driver’s Licenses

In Jacksonville, not paying your jaywalking ticket can cost you the ability to get to school or work. Again, blacks bear a disproportionate impact.

Local Lawmakers and Civil Rights Groups Call for Suspending Pedestrian Tickets in Jacksonville

Concerns about targeted enforcement against African Americans come after a Florida Times-Union/ProPublica investigation.

One Officer, Scores of Tickets and a Familiar Racial Disparity

C.J. Brown wrote four times as many pedestrian tickets as any other officer in Jacksonville over the last five years. Most of them went to blacks. His boss says he’s just “good at his job.”

Walking While Black

Jacksonville’s enforcement of pedestrian violations raises concerns that it’s another example of racial profiling.

How (Not) to Cross the Street in Jacksonville

The city’s population is 29 percent black, but black pedestrians received 55 percent of the pedestrian tickets issued from 2012 to July 2017. Looking at each type of ticket issued reveals even bigger disparities.

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