Chadburn’s beautiful, brutal essay pairs memories of poverty and the foster care system with an unlikely clarion call: pay your taxes. “Taxes are revolutionary,” she writes. “When I pay my taxes I am telling my community I value you.”
Undocumented migrants are being held for ransom by extortionists who know that they aren’t likely to report the crime.
We asked a few writers and editors to choose some of their favorite stories of the year in specific categories. Here, the best in crime reporting.
Now happening in America: Police are using civil forfeiture laws to take money and property from people who haven’t been charged with a crime—and police even allegedly threatened to take their children away if they didn’t comply. In the Texas town of Tenaha, police pulled over drivers and used the roadside seizures to fund an assortment of unrelated items:
“More revelatory was a nine-page spreadsheet listing items funded by Tenaha’s roadside seizures. Among them were Halloween costumes, Doo Dah Parade decorations, ‘Have a Nice Day’ banners, credit-card late fees, poultry-festival supplies, a popcorn machine, and a thousand-dollar donation to a Baptist congregation that was said to be important to Lynda Russell’s reëlection. Barry Washington, as deputy city marshal, received a ten-thousand-dollar personal bonus from the fund. (His base salary was about thirty thousand dollars; Garrigan later confirmed reports that Washington had received a total of forty thousand dollars in bonuses.)”