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USA TODAY reveals how law enforcement punishes whistleblowers

I’m USA TODAY editor-in-chief Nicole Carroll, and this is The Backstory, insights into our biggest stories of the week. If you’d like to get The Backstory in your inbox every week, sign up here. 

We got a touching email Wednesday from a 30-year veteran of a Massachusetts police force.

He wrote that his distinguished career “was all tarnished … after I reported (an) officer lying on the stand and going to the FBI.”

He was responding to an investigative story we published this week, Behind the Blue Wall, that documented how often police whistleblowers face retaliation for reporting misconduct. They have been threatened, fired, jailed, one was even forcibly admitted to a psychiatric ward. 

“I want to personally thank you for bringing this to light,” the officer wrote. “You were able to write what I have experienced for the last 6 years. After reading this I took a deep breath and for the first time since this began I feel liberated from the stigma of being a rat, untruthful, discredited.”



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