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This Weekend's Top MuckReads: The EPA's Secret Watch List, Pesticide Drones and More

Plus botched bankruptcies and prison doctors


Here are this week's top must-read stories from #MuckReads, ProPublica's ongoing collection of the best watchdog journalism. Anyone can contribute by tweeting a link to a story and just including the hashtag #MuckReads or by sending an email to The best submissions are selected by ProPublica's editors and reporters and then featured on our site and @ProPublica .

Yearlong investigation shows many police shootings in Las Vegas could have been avoided, Last Vegas Review-Journal

In the wake of two controversial officer-shooter deaths last year, the Las Vegas Review-Journal went back to investigate 378 shooting incidents over two decades. The paper found an insular police department that is slow to weed out problem cops, and slower to adopt policies that might protect both officers and citizens.

Contributed by @fjmccabe

Bankruptcy Filings Botched, Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel

Bankruptcy is supposed to give people a fresh start, but those moving to file should be aware of whom they hire to help. Bankruptcy judges have started to crack down on unscrupulous or incompetent bankruptcy petition preparers, non-lawyers who often overcharge for shoddy work.

Contributed by @monicareida

Prison Doctors, Barred From Seeing Patients, Collect Full Pay, Los Angeles Times

It’s like California’s version of the rubber room —except for prison doctors. The Los Angeles Times reports that at least 30 doctors and other medical professionals accused of malpractice and incompetence in their treatment of inmates have collected six-figure salaries to perform either basic chores or no work at all while their cases wind their way through the state’s appeals process.

Contributed by @txtiamiller

D.C. Funds for Needy Used More For Perks, The Washington Times

D.C. council members have access to special funds that they are supposed to use to help needy constituents. But a Washington Times review of $3.3 million in payments showed that only a tiny percentage of the money went to paying power and water bills, and more was spent at sporting events.

Contributed by @JoeYerardi

Idea of Civilians Using Drone Aircraft May Soon fly With FAA, Los Angeles Times

The Federal Aviation Administration is working on a set of rules for the use of small drones in America’s skyways. Possible applications include police drones to spot and chase runaway criminals, utility drones to monitor oil and gas pipelines, and agricultural drones that would help spray crops with pesticides. Small drones have already found peacetime uses in Brazil, Costa Rica, Argentina, South Korea, and Turkey.

Contributed by @JohnMichaelEsq

EPA Posts Secret 'Watch List' That Includes Chronic Polluters, The Center for Public Integrity

In response to news that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency maintained an internal, secret list of chronic violators of air pollution laws, the EPA has posted its September and October watch lists on its website.

Contributed by @srubenfeld

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