Vernal Coleman


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Vernal Coleman is a reporter for ProPublica’s Midwest newsroom. He came to ProPublica from the Boston Globe, where he had been a member of the newsroom’s strike investigations team, specializing in data analysis for quick turnaround investigations. Before joining the Globe, Coleman was a watchdog reporter with the Seattle Times’ Project Homeless initiative, where he wrote stories about the intersection of housing, mental health and local efforts to combat homelessness. Prior to joining the Seattle Times, in 2014, he covered policing and public safety in Newark, New Jersey, for the Star-Ledger and

Coleman began his career as a fellow with Northwestern University’s Academy of Alternative Journalism, where he produced multiple news articles for various Chicago-based publications, including the Chicago Reader.

Even When a Cop Is Killed With an Illegally Purchased Weapon, the Gun Store’s Name Is Kept Secret

A 2003 law pushed by the gun industry limits the information shared by federal agents and shields gun shops from public scrutiny, but ProPublica was able to identify the store that sold the gun used in the shooting of a Chicago police officer.

Inside the Historic Suit That the Gun Industry and Republicans Are on the Verge of Killing

For 25 years, gunmakers have repeatedly tried to end one city’s lawsuit over illegal gun sales. Meanwhile, illicit purchases of firearms continued at an unrelenting and hazardous pace.

Indiana Lawmakers Trying to Kill Historic Suit Seeking Gun Industry Accountability

Gary, Indiana’s long-running lawsuit against the world’s largest gunmakers is jeopardized by a bill that would allow only the state to sue.

Inside the Notorious Gun Shop Linked to Hundreds of Chicago Guns

The story of one Indiana store demonstrates how the more than 60,000 gun retailers in America have little financial incentive to say no to questionable buyers and face limited penalties for failing to prevent illegal transactions.

Medical Care and Politics Go Hand in Hand at a Chicago Safety Net Hospital

Under the leadership of CEO Tim Egan, Chicago’s Roseland Community Hospital has awarded business to his friends and acquaintances, employees have donated to his political funds and he has appeared in a campaign ad for the state’s comptroller.

Deaths Linked to Neglect, Error Raise Concerns About Quality of Care at This Safety Net Hospital

Roseland Community Hospital promises the “best quality care” for Chicago’s South Side, but a whistleblower complaint and a rash of fatalities, lawsuits and negative federal inspection reports suggest the situation had become dire during COVID-19.

The State Took His Kids Three Times. And Three Times It Gave Them Back.

In Southern Illinois, many families suspected of neglect cycle through the child welfare system. Too often they don’t get the help they need.

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