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Topher Sanders

Reporter

Photo of Topher Sanders

Topher Sanders covers race, inequality and the justice system for ProPublica. In 2019, he was part of a team that was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Public Service and won the Peabody and George Polk awards for their coverage of President Trump’s family separation policy. In 2018, he and reporter Ben Conarck received 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 reporting has won a number of other national awards including a NABJ Award, an Online Journalism Award, the John Jay College/Harry Frank Guggenheim award for excellence in criminal justice reporting and he is a two-time winner of the Paul Tobenkin award for coverage of racial intolerance and discrimination.

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. He is a graduate of Tuskegee University and started his journalism career at The Montgomery Advertiser in Montgomery, Alabama.

A Lawsuit Over Ferguson’s “Debtors Prison” Drags On

The federal class-action claims thousands of people in Missouri were jailed because they couldn’t pay off fines. Four years after the suit was filed, the plaintiffs are still waiting, and wondering if the deck is stacked against them.

Senators Demand Investigation Into Sexual Abuse at Immigrant Children’s Shelters

Sens. Charles Grassley and Dianne Feinstein said they are particularly concerned that allegations of sexual assault of unaccompanied minors aren’t being properly investigated.

En los albergues para menores inmigrantes, los casos de agresión sexual se abren y cierran en un dos por tres

En distintos lugares del país, niños denuncian casos de agresión sexual en los albergues para menores inmigrantes. Alex decidió dar a conocer su situación cuando informó en el albergue que dos adolescentes mayores que él lo arrastraron a uno de los dormitorios. El incidente quedó grabado en un video de vigilancia, pero su caso nunca fue investigado. Alex no es el único.

In Immigrant Children’s Shelters, Sexual Assault Cases Are Open and Shut

Across the country, kids are reporting sexual assaults in immigrant children’s shelters. Alex decided to come forward. He told the shelter two older teens dragged him into a bedroom. There was surveillance video. But Alex's case wasn't investigated. His isn’t the only one.

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.

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