Created by The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, Reveal is public radios first one-hour weekly radio show and podcast dedicated to investigative reporting. Credible, fact based and without a partisan agenda, Reveal combines the power and artistry of driveway moment storytelling with data-rich reporting on critically important issues. The result is stories that inform and inspire, arming our listeners with information to right injustices, hold the powerful accountable and improve lives.Reveal is hosted by Al Letson and showcases the award-winning work of CIR and newsrooms large and small across the nation. In a radio and podcast market crowded with choices, Reveal focuses on important and often surprising stories that illuminate the world for our listeners.

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54 min

Mississippi Goddam Chapter 7: Reasonable Doubt

Donate now to support Reveal’s journalism. ••• The final episode of Mississippi Goddam shares new revelations that cast doubt on the official story that Billey Joe Johnson accidentally killed himself.  This week marks the 13th anniversary of Johnson’s death. His family is still seeking justice. Our reporting brought up questions that the original investigation never looked into. Host Al Letson and reporter Jonathan Jones go back to Mississippi to interview the key people in the investigation, including Johnson’s ex-girlfriend – the first recorded interview she’s ever done with a media outlet. The team also shares its findings with lead investigator Joel Wallace and the medical examiner who looked into the case.  Finally, after three years of reporting, we share what we’ve learned with Johnson’s family and talk to them about the inadequacy of the investigation and reasons to reopen the case.
50 min

Mississippi Goddam Chapter 6: Mississippi Justice

Black communities around Mississippi have long raised concerns about the suspicious deaths of young Black men, especially when law enforcement is involved.  Curley Clark, vice president of the Mississippi NAACP, calls Billey Joe Johnson Jr.’s case an example of “Mississippi justice.”  “It means that they still feel like the South should have won the Civil War,” Clark said. “And also the laws for the state of Mississippi are slanted in that direction.” Before Johnson died during a traffic stop with a White sheriff’s deputy, friends say police had pulled him over dozens of times. And some members of the community raised concerns that police had been racially profiling Black people.   Reveal investigates Johnson’s interactions with law enforcement and one officer in particular.
51 min

Amazon Leaks

Amazon gathers a lot of information about its customers, from what they read and watch to what they search for and buy. And the company says customers trust it to keep their data safe. But internal memos and people who have worked inside Amazon paint a different picture. Reveal found Amazon’s intense focus on growth left the company vulnerable to serious security risks. Amazon couldn’t track where all of its data was, according to a former executive. Customer service employees had the ability to look up the shopping history of celebrities, and some shady companies went through a back door to take the personal information of millions of Amazon shoppers. When Amazon found out, it kept it a secret from its customers. Customer data wasn’t the only thing at risk. As a result of the company’s security struggles, corruption spread and independent sellers on Amazon’s marketplace have suffered attacks. Reveal explores the cutthroat world of Amazon sellers.
50 min

Mississippi Goddam Chapter 5: Star Crossed

Billey Joe Johnson Jr. and Hannah Hollinghead met in their freshman year of high school. Hollinghead says Johnson was her first love, and in many ways, it was a typical teen romance. Friends say they would argue, break up, then get back together again. Some people were far from accepting of their interracial relationship. On Dec. 8, 2008, they were both dating other people. According to Hollinghead and her mother, Johnson made an unexpected stop at her house, moments before he died of a gunshot wound during a traffic stop on the edge of town.  But it appears that investigators failed to corroborate statements or interview Johnson’s friends and family to get a better idea of what was going on in his life on the day he died. Reveal exposes deep flaws in the investigation and interviews the people closest to Johnson, who were never questioned during the initial investigation.
50 min

Mississippi Goddam Chapter 4: The Investigator

Special Agent Joel Wallace of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation was called in to investigate the death of Billey Joe Johnson. He worked alongside two investigators from the George County district attorney’s office.  Wallace said that arrangement didn’t happen very often. And he now questions why they were assigned. “If you've got me investigating the case, then I’m an independent investigator,” he said. “But why would I need the district attorney investigator to oversee me investigating a case?” The Johnsons were initially relieved, because Wallace had experience investigating suspicious deaths. As a Black detective, he had dealt with racist backlash to his work.  Reveal host Al Letson and reporter Jonathan Jones visit Wallace, now retired, to talk about what happened with the investigation. When Wallace finds out what Reveal has uncovered, he begins to wonder whether the case should be reopened.
50 min

Mississippi Goddam Chapter 3: The Autopsy

After Billey Joe Johnson Jr. died in 2008, the state of Mississippi outsourced his autopsy. Al Letson and Jonathan Jones travel to Nashville, Tennessee, to interview the doctor who conducted it. Her findings helped lead the grand jury to determine Johnson’s death was an accidental shooting. However, Letson and Jones share another report that raises doubts about her original conclusions.
50 min

Mississippi Goddam Chapter 2: The Aftermath

On the morning of Billey Joe Johnson’s death, crime scene tape separates the Johnsons from their son’s body. Their shaky faith in the criminal justice system begins to buckle. As Billey Joe Johnson’s family tries to get answers about his death, they get increasingly frustrated with the investigation. They feel that law enforcement, from the lead investigator to the district attorney, are keeping them out of the loop. While a majority White grand jury rules that Johnson’s’s death was accidental, members of the family believe the possibility of foul play was never properly investigated.
50 min

Mississippi Goddam Chapter 1: The Promise

Billey Joe Johnson Jr. was a high school football star headed for the big time. Then, early one morning in 2008, the Black teenager died during a traffic stop with a White deputy. His family’s been searching for answers ever since. Ten years ago, Reveal host Al Letson traveled to Lucedale, Mississippi, to report on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. While there, locals told him there was another story he should be looking into: Johnson’s suspicious death.   During a traffic stop with a White deputy, police say Johnson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. But for Johnson’s family, that explanation never made sense.  In the first episode of this seven-part series, Letson returns to Mississippi with reporter Jonathan Jones to explore what happened to Johnson – and what justice means in a place haunted by its history.