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TUESDAY June 15, 2021: 'TARGETED' by Tampa Bay Times investigative reporters Kathleen McGrory and Neil Bedi wins the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting: Florida's Pasco County sheriff Chris Nocco took office in 2011 with a bold plan: to create a cutting-edge intelligence program that could stop crime before it happened. What he actually built was a system to continuously monitor and harass Pasco County residents, a Tampa Bay Times investigation has found. First the Sheriff's Office generates lists of people it considers likely to break the law, based on arrest histories, then sends deputies to find and interrogate anyone whose name appears, often without probable cause, a search warrant or evidence of a specific crime. They swarm homes in the middle of the night, waking families and embarrassing people in front of their neighbors. In just five years, Nocco's signature program has ensnared almost 1,000 people, with at least 1 in 10 were younger than 18. Some of the young people were labeled targets despite having only one or two arrests. One former deputy described the directive 'Make their lives miserable until they move or sue.' Welcome to: 'TARGETED'
© zReportage.com Story of the Week #790: TUESDAY June 15, 2021: 'TARGETED' by Tampa Bay Times investigative reporters Kathleen McGrory and Neil Bedi wins the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting: Florida's Pasco County sheriff Chris Nocco took office in 2011 with a bold plan: to create a cutting-edge intelligence program that could stop crime before it happened. What he actually built was a system to continuously monitor and harass Pasco County residents, a Tampa Bay Times investigation has found. First the Sheriff's Office generates lists of people it considers likely to break the law, based on arrest histories, then sends deputies to find and interrogate anyone whose name appears, often without probable cause, a search warrant or evidence of a specific crime. They swarm homes in the middle of the night, waking families and embarrassing people in front of their neighbors. In just five years, Nocco's signature program has ensnared almost 1,000 people, with at least 1 in 10 were younger than 18. Some of the young people were labeled targets despite having only one or two arrests. One former deputy described the directive 'Make their lives miserable until they move or sue.' Welcome to: 'TARGETED'
DALANEA TAYLOR, 20, with her two-year-old twins, LIBERTY and FREEDOM, at their home in New Port Richey. Dalanea is among a list of Pasco County residents being monitored by Pasco Sheriff's deputies as part of the intelligence led policing program.
© Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA Wire
From left: DEVON GARY, 14, with mother, ADELLA YOUNG, 48, and brother LORENZO GARY, 17, at their home in Port Richey. The boys are on a list of 1,000 people being monitored by Pasco Sheriff's deputies as part of the intelligence led policing program.
© Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA Wire
From left: ANTHONY MCDOUGALL, 17, TAMMY HEILMAN, 45, IZABELLA ZANDER, 8, and ZENIA ZANDER, 11, in front of the family's home on Thursday in Holiday. Heilman, whose sons Anthony and Donnie McDougall were on a list of 1,000 people being monitored by Pasco Sheriff's deputies as part of the intelligence led policing program, said was arrested and served spent 76 days in jail as a result of her interactions with deputies.
© Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA Wire
RIO WOJTECKI visits with Mark Brooks, a Senior Juvenile Probation officer with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, moments after attending a probation hearing before Circuit Court Judge Philippe Matthey at the West Pasco Judicial Center in New Port Richey.
© Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA Wire
LORENZO GARY, 17, stands in front of his home, in Port Richey. Lorenzo is on a list of 1,000 people being monitored by Pasco Sheriff's deputies as part of the intelligence led policing program.
© Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA Wire
Sheriff CHRIS NOCCO addresses the media during a press conference held at the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. Some deputies, those on Strategic Targeted Area Response teams, or STAR teams, were dedicated to the program's objectives. Among their assignments: to ''hunt down'' the targets, according to a post the Sheriff's Office made on its Facebook page in 2017.
© Leiva, Andres/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA Wire
DA' MARION ALLEN, 15, center, stands with his grandparents, MICHELLE DOTSON, 54, left, and TERRANCE DOTSON Sr., 53, at their home in Land O' Lakes. Da' Marion is on a list of 1,000 people being monitored by Pasco Sheriff's deputies as part of the intelligence led policing program.
© Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA Wire
Pasco County Sheriff CHRIS NOCCO briefs the press on the latest developments of the Miami triple-murder suspect found dead in Pasco County at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Dade City.
© Octavio Jones/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA Wire
DENISE WOJTECKI appears before Pasco County Court judge FRANK GREY for a code violation citation which Denise says stems from interaction with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office's STAR Team which she said visits her home regularly to check up on Denise's 15-year-old son, Rio Wojtecki, who is on the Pasco Sheriff's Top 5 Offender List.
© Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA Wire
RIO WOJTECKI, 15, left, and mother DENISE WOJTECKI, 48, at their home in Holiday. Rio is on a list of 1,000 people being monitored by Pasco Sheriff's deputies as part of the intelligence led policing program.
© Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA Wire
Former Pasco County Sheriff's Office Capt. JAMES STEFFENS resigned from the department in 2018. Steffens joined the department in 2013 after a stint as New Port Richey police chief and a 20-year career with the Clearwater Police Department, according to the Sheriff's Office website.
© Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA Wire
LACHELLE CARPENTER who holds a drawing given to her by her son, Matthew Lott, in front of her home in Holiday. Matthew Lott was being monitored by Pasco Sheriff's deputies in 2017 and 2018 as part of the intelligence led policing program. He died by suicide in 2018.
© Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA Wire
JENNIFER WINTERS holds a picture of her son, Jahheen Winters, 13, shown holding a Certificate of Promotion confirming his graduation from Crews Lake Middle School in Spring Hill earlier this year. Jahheen, who is currently separated from Jennifer, was only 11 years old when his name was added to a list of 1,000 people being monitored by Pasco Sheriff's deputies as part of the intelligence led policing program.
© Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA Wire
JENNIFER WINTERS stands in the yard of the home she shares with relatives in Palm Harbor. Winters is separated from her son, Jahheen Winters, 13, who was only 11 years old when his name was added to a list of 1,000 people being monitored by Pasco Sheriff's deputies as part of the intelligence led policing program.
© Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA Wire
CHRIS STARNES, a former lieutenant who oversaw patrol and narcotics units with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, sit with his dog, Lilly, at his home in Zephyrhills. Starnes said he was repeatedly asked about his squad's prolific offender checks.
© Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA Wire
SHEILA SMITH stand in front of her home in Land O' Lakes. Smith said deputies showed up at the repeatedly in 2017 and 2018 asking to speak to her teenage son, Vaughn Smith Jr., even though he was under an approved house arrest at his grandmother's home in a different county. The office posted a photo of Vaughn Jr. taken from a security-camera at a McDonalds before he was arrested. The Smiths said the office also posted the photo to their community Facebook page.
© Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA Wire
Douglas R. Clifford

Douglas R. Clifford is based in St. Petersburg, Florida and is a staff photojournalist for the Tampa Bay Times newspaper, which is represented by ZUMA Press. (Credit Image: © Douglas Clifford/Tampa Bay Times/ZUMAPRESS.com):790



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