YouTube video

In September 2017, 59-year-old Phillip Lee Terry was doing routine maintenance on a forklift at an Amazon warehouse near Indianapolis when the forks and heavy metal platform suddenly came down and killed him. Just a few feet away from the site of the accident was a device that would have saved his life. Why didn’t he use it? 

This was John Stallone’s question when he began investigating the case for the Indiana state Occupational Safety and Health Administration. He found serious lapses in safety training and protocol at the warehouse. But all citations against Amazon eventually were dropped, and the global company ultimately paid no penalty for Terry’s death. Stallone describes a cozy relationship between Indiana officials and Amazon. He shared his story with Reveal reporter Will Evans for the first time. 

In the second of a two-part series with PBS NewsHour, Reveal closely follows a trail of documents and witnesses to investigate why an Amazon worker was blamed for his own death.

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Rachel de Leon is a reporter and producer for TV and documentaries for Reveal. De Leon has worked in video for more than 10 years as a videographer and producer. Throughout 2017, she was the coordinating producer for Glassbreaker Films – an initiative from The Center for Investigative Reporting to support female filmmakers – helping to produce five half-hour documentaries for national and festival distribution, and more than 20 online minidocumentaries. In 2016, she won two Emmys for her work on the web series "The Dead Unknown" and the PBS NewsHour segment "Deadly Oil Fields." In 2014, she completed her first short documentary, “Cab City,” for her master’s thesis in the documentary program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. De Leon is based in Reveal’s Emeryville, California, office.

Will Evans was a senior reporter and producer for Reveal, covering labor and tech. His reporting prompted government investigations, legislation, reforms and prosecutions. A series on working conditions at Amazon warehouses was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and won a Gerald Loeb Award. His work has also won multiple Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards, including for a series on safety problems at Tesla. Other investigations exposed secret spying at Uber, illegal discrimination in the temp industry and rampant fraud in California's drug rehab system for the poor. Prior to joining The Center for Investigative Reporting in 2005, Evans was a reporter at The Sacramento Bee.