CHICAGO (CBS) –– CBS Chicago won the prestigious Peabody Award for [un]warranted, an investigative project and documentary exposing an alarming pattern of Chicago Police officers raiding the wrong homes, traumatizing innocent families, and, in the process, violating citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights.

CBS Chicago was the only local news winner of the award.

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The reporting discovered that CPD officers routinely violated department policies during these raids, yet none of the officers involved were investigated or disciplined. In 2019 alone, the project included more than 25 investigative news reports and a 30-minute documentary examining the impact of these wrongful raids on families of color in Chicago. It resulted in a new state law to protect children, two city probes into how officers obtain and execute search warrants, and nearly a dozen federal civil rights lawsuits.

The police department also changed its search warrant policy to ensure more oversight and accountability and additional protections for children. Newly appointed Superintendent David Brown also committed to tracking wrong raids for the first time in the department’s history.

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“As a result of this exhaustive, moving report, the Governor of Illinois signed the Peter Mendez Act into law. Named for a boy whose home was wrongly raided, the legislation instructs police departments to train officers on how to de-escalate force if children are present during a raid. For its tenacity, thoroughness, and impact, CBS Chicago wins a Peabody Award”, wrote the Peabody Board of Jurors in its winning citation.

According to the Peabody website, “Judging for the Peabody Awards is a rigorous, deliberative process based on the belief that face-to-face discussions among board members is the best possible way to adjudicate more than 1,200 entries that Peabody receives each year. The Peabody Awards judging process ensures that each and every entry receives full attention in its pursuit of excellence.”

The Peabody Awards recognixed 30 programs as the most compelling and empowering stories released in broadcasting and digital media during 2019. The Peabody 30 are the best of nearly 1,300 entries submitted from television, radio/podcasts, and the web across the genres of entertainment, news, documentary, children’s and public service programming. All winners are chosen unanimously by a board of 19 jurors. The Peabody Awards are based at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

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