From police officer misconduct to deadly shootings, internal affairs investigations are how law enforcement agencies investigate their own and promise to hold themselves accountable. In California, those investigations were secret — that is, until a new police transparency law unsealed thousands of files.
A team of reporters in California set out to request those records from every policing agency in the state. As they came in, the team spent hours scrutinizing redacted documents, watching hours of body camera footage and listening through audio recordings to understand what happened inside internal investigations for all those years no one was watching.
On Our Watch is a limited-run podcast from NPR and KQED that brings you into the rooms where officers are interrogated and witnesses are questioned to find out who this shadow system of police accountability really serves, and who it protects.
Hosted by KQED criminal justice reporter Sukey Lewis and reported with Sandhya Dirks, KQED’s race and equity reporter, each week On Our Watch analyzes a different internal affairs investigation to find out how the police police themselves, and who is hurt when they don’t.