For our annual review of stories, the Indy’s writers have put together lists of pieces in 2020 they were particularly proud of. Here are Senior Editor Tyler Hayden’s top picks.
One Santa Barbara Deputy, Five Violent Deaths ― Deputy Jeremy Rogers has shot and killed three people, caused an accident that claimed two lives, and been sued multiple times, costing Santa Barbara taxpayers more than $5.5 million in legal settlements. Rogers and the Sheriff’s Office were sued yet again this fall for the fatal shooting of Cameron Ely.
The stories are part of my ongoing series ― called Force Files launched after the killing of George Floyd ― that scrutinizes how and when local law enforcement officers use force against civilians.
The Light and Dark Side of Santa Barbara Police ― Personal tales ― many positive, others painful ― of everyday interactions with the police.
Sisters Say Brother Sick with COVID-19 Was Released from Lompoc Prison to Die ― As the Lompoc penitentiary outbreak grew to become one of the worst in the nation, families increasingly spoke out about the botched response there. (This article kicked off my continuing coverage of the Lompoc prison health crisis, which was cited by the ACLU in a pending federal lawsuit against the Bureau of Prisons.)
Inside the Minds of Young Santa Barbara Voters ― Our 500-person survey, distributed before the election, revealed the issues those under 35 care about most.
Immigrant Hope Santa Barbara Is Doing God’s Work ― This Christian nonprofit helps immigrants find legal pathways to citizenship.
The Santa Barbara Disaster Prep Guide, 2020 Edition ― Because it’s best to plan ahead for the worst.
Is Highway 154 Really the Blood Alley We All Think It Is? ― Ten years of data helps explain people’s perceptions of the mountain pass versus the true realities of its dangers.
Channel Islands Shipwrecks Tell Stories of Heroism, Heartbreak, and High-Seas Scalawaggery ― Santa Barbara’s ocean bottom is rich with history, but there’s still much more to be discovered.
News Commentary: I Risked Life and Limb for Chick-fil-A ― And it totally wasn’t worth it.
News Commentary: It’s My Party and I’ll Self-Isolate If I Want To ― Staying home on your birthday sucks, but it’s the right thing to do.
My Life: One Santa Barbara Man’s Dirty-Shovel Therapy ― Learning how to master the garden, and my mind, during the coronavirus.