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A nanny in Nashville was having a picnic on a bike path with the kids she was caring for when a man emerged from his house and started cursing at them. The woman began recording and threatened to call the police. But it turned out the angry man wasn’t afraid because he was part of the police – a captain with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department. The nanny’s video went viral. It put a cop in the spotlight, cracked a hole in the “blue wall of silence” and sparked a “Me Too” moment that inspired women in the force to speak up about the captain and other high-ranking officers. 

Monica Blake-Beasley was one of the few Black women on the force and one of those who spoke out. When she came forward to report that another officer had sexually assaulted her, she says her colleagues closed ranks and protected not her, but the officer she had accused. Soon, Blake-Beasley began to feel like the department was retaliating against her. As Samantha Max of WPLN News reports, Nashville officers who dare to rock the boat are often disciplined, passed over for assignments or forced to leave altogether. Records show that Black female employees who were investigated for policy violations were suspended, demoted or terminated at more than twice the rate of White employees.

Dig Deeper

Read: Behind the Blue Wall: Officers Describe a ‘Toxic’ Culture Within Metro Police (WPLN) 

Read: Nashville police discipline a captain for sexual harassment, but allow him to retire in good standing (WPLN)  

Credits

Lead Reporter: Samantha Max | Editors for WPLN and APM: Chas Sisk and Dave Mann | Editor for Reveal: Cynthia Rodriguez | Lead producer for Reveal: Katharine Mieszkowski | Contributing reporters: Will Craft, Curtis Gilbert and Jose Martinez | APM attorney: Mark Anfinson | Production manager: Amy Mostafa | Digital producer and episode art: Sarah Mirk | Score and sound design: Jim Briggs and Fernando Arruda, with help from Steven Rascón, Kathryn Styer Martínez and Jess Alvarenga | Executive producer: Kevin Sullivan | Host: Ike Sriskandarajah 

Archival news footage came from Fox 17.

Special thanks to Andrea Zelinski.

Transcript

Reveal transcripts are produced by a third-party transcription service and may contain errors. Please be aware that the official record for Reveal’s radio stories is the audio.

Al Letson:Hey, it’s Al, and last fall, we brought you Mississippi Goddam. It was named one of the best podcast series of 2021 by the Atlantic, CNN, Rolling Stone, and others. We told that story over the course of seven weeks, and now we’re making it available to you to binge. You can hear the whole series by subscribing to Reveal Presents: Mississippi Goddam wherever you get your podcasts. Again, that’s Reveal Presents: Mississippi Goddam.
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Ike Sriskandara…:From the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, this is reveal. I’m Ike Sriskandarajah, in for Al Letson.
Ike Sriskandara…:It all started with an argument on a bike path. A nanny and the three kids she was watching, versus an angry man in his backyard, and a cell phone camera that started rolling just after the man cursed at them.
Jason Reinbold:I sure did.
Erin McDermott:You called me a fat ass.
Jason Reinbold:In front of your children.
Erin McDermott:That’s really nice of you.
Jason Reinbold:I know! Why are you here?
Erin McDermott:We’re enjoying the day. Why are you acting like this?
Ike Sriskandara…:Erin McDermott and the kids, ages three, six and seven, are on a neighborhood path in suburban Nashville, Tennessee. It happens to run behind the man’s home. Erin and the kids park their bikes to eat some graham crackers and drink some water. But the man thinks they’ve overstayed their welcome.
Ike Sriskandara…:It’s April, 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, and Tennesseans are supposed to be staying home, and he wants them to get away from his property.
Jason Reinbold:Social distancing, Karen.
Erin McDermott:Yeah, you’re getting closer to me. I was 20 feet away from you on a bike path.
Ike Sriskandara…:The man paces back and forth in a baggy long sleeve T-shirt and gym shorts.
Jason Reinbold:Children, you want to stay and listen to me fucking cuss all day?
Speaker 7:Stop saying curse words!
Jason Reinbold:Say it. Say it with me. “Oh, shit.”
Speaker 7:Stop saying curse words!
Ike Sriskandara…:It’s a playground argument between grown people with smart phones.
Erin McDermott:It’s all right. I’ve got it all on video. You’re fine.
Jason Reinbold:Tell me, what are you going to do with it, Karen?
Erin McDermott:I’m going to post it on Facebook, because you just called me a fat ass in front of my kids.
Ike Sriskandara…:Erin, not Karen, is threatening to call the cops, and the angry man is egging her on.
Jason Reinbold:I want you to call the police.
Ike Sriskandara…:Erin and the kids grab their bikes and head home, but she’s still shaken up.
Erin McDermott:He just was so agitated and so aggressive, and I’m, again, my job is to take care of these children. I mean, even the way that he was talking to the kids. I mean, like, “Throw rocks at me, cuss with me.” No rational person does that.
Ike Sriskandara…:She doesn’t want the man to get away with this, so she decides to share the video.
Erin McDermott:I had no idea who he was. I’d never had an interaction with him.
Ike Sriskandara…:And that’s when this backyard argument turned into something bigger.
Erin McDermott:Once I had posted it, it started to really gather a lot of steam, and then I found it out was a police officer, and then I got really scared.
Ike Sriskandara…:A local website, called Scoop Nashville, identified the man as a captain at the Metro Nashville Police Department, and Erin’s recording became a catalyst. It put a cop in the spotlight. It cracked a hole in the blue wall of silence. It sparked a Me Too moment within the Nashville Police Department, and it inspired officers to finally speak up.
Ike Sriskandara…:Samantha Max at WPLN News in Nashville, with help from APM Reports, spent over a year investigating a system where some cops say misconduct goes unpunished, and those who report it face retaliation. Here’s Samantha.
Samantha Max:It turns out, the man from the cell phone video was Captain Jason Reinbold, the head of the Metro Nashville Police Department’s criminal investigations division. He had a squeaky clean disciplinary record and a file full of accolades. Reinbold was one of those cops you would often see in the paper or hear on the local news.
Speaker 9:Jason Reinbold says that…
Samantha Max:Here he is on Fox 17.
Jason Reinbold:Well, we needed to make sure that we took care of the issue.
Samantha Max:Reinbold had worked at the police department for more than 25 years when the cell phone video published. He was a college football recruit turned cop, who spent his off hours coaching at a local Catholic school. And he was beloved by many in the upper ranks of the department.
Samantha Max:Reinbold spent his first few years on patrol, but it became clear to his supervisors early on that he was cut out for more than 911 calls. As Reinbold rose through the ranks, his higher ups noted his leadership abilities. They said he was easy to work with, and that he set an example for the department. But Reinbold’s esteemed reputation began to unravel in the spring of 2020 after the nanny’s video made the local news.
Speaker 10:New developments tonight in the investigation into bad behavior by a metro police captain.
Samantha Max:The viral cell phone video launched an internal investigation into Reinbold’s actions.
Speaker 11:Are you familiar our truthfulness policy at the police department?
Jason Reinbold:I am.
Speaker 11:What is your understanding of that?
Jason Reinbold:So…
Samantha Max:That’s Reinbold. He’s speaking with an investigator from the department’s Office of Professional Accountability, which investigates claims of police misconduct.
Jason Reinbold:That I would be in violation of that policy if I lie or refrain from providing information to adequately investigate the matter.
Samantha Max:Reinbold said if he lied, he knew he could be fired, and he promised to be completely truthful. It’s a pledge he would make multiple times in the weeks and months to come, but not one he would always follow.
Samantha Max:This is one of five interview recordings with Jason Reinbold that we obtained through public records requests. They had never been shared with the public before. These recordings provide an unprecedented glimpse into the inner working of the police department’s disciplinary system, and the type of treatment afforded to someone with friends in the upper ranks.
Samantha Max:Reinbold did not respond to multiple requests for comment. In this case, Reinbold didn’t deny that he’d done something wrong. He was embarrassed.
Jason Reinbold:Can I be honest with you for a second? I wish I were in uniform. You know why?
Speaker 11:Why?
Jason Reinbold:I wouldn’t have done it. I wouldn’t have done any of that if I were in uniform. I acted like a… like an old man who’s at his house. I mean, essentially that’s what I was. And I did, I acted foolish. And I’m not trying to… but I do go back in my mind and go, gosh darn it, I wish I were in uniform. I wish I had pulled up in my uniform and said… My demeanor would have been completely different. Because we do it every day, you know?
Samantha Max:Then Reinbold went into full on apology mode. He admitted that he’d messed up, that he needed to make things better. But the investigator still had his concerns.
Speaker 11:Do you think you have an anger problem?
Jason Reinbold:I’m diving in deep. In my efforts, I’ve identified a lot of challenges in my life, from childhood to now. These are not excuses, once again. Do I have an anger problem? I don’t believe that it’s… If I do have one, I don’t believe that it’s not manageable, but I feel that I had a moment in which I flat out tripped and fell on my face with my behavior.
Samantha Max:The department spent just over a week investigating McDermott’s complaint against Reinbold, and they suspended him 11 working days without pay. They also transferred him out of the criminal investigations division, where he had supervised the cold case, fraud and sex crimes units. It was certainly more than a slap on the wrist, but considering all the negative attention this case had brought the department, it could have been worse. He could have been demoted for setting a bad example as a supervisor. Reinbold could have even been fired. He originally told the investigator he wasn’t working during the argument, but he admitted in a follow-up interview that he was technically clocked in at the time.
Jason Reinbold:Yeah, understood.
Speaker 11:Do you see this?
Jason Reinbold:Yeah, I do see that as a problem. I mean, as… to explain.
Samantha Max:Untruthfulness at the Nashville Police department can be grounds for termination, but Reinbold kept his rank. The department says he was inconsistent, not dishonest.
Samantha Max:It wasn’t the first time Reinbold had held onto his stripes after facing a serious accusation. It was just the first time it had happened in the public spotlight.
Ike Sriskandara…:The argument in Reinbold’s backyard set off a chain of events that exposed who on the force could get off without serious punishment, and who faced much stiffer penalties.
Monica Blake-Be…:To find out that we actually had separate groups, governed by separate rules, according to who you were and your ability to either grin and bear it or turn a cheek, nothing about that felt like justice to me.
Ike Sriskandara…:That’s next on Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX.
Ike Sriskandara…:From the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, this is Reveal. I’m Ike Sriskandarajah, in for Al Letson. Captain Jason Reinbold was suspended for 11 days and got transferred out of his unit after he screamed and cursed at a nanny and gave inconsistent answers to a police investigator. Technically, he could have been fired, but okay, this punishment was something. You may even consider it reasonable, until you start to dig into how others in the police department get treated when they speak up and report one of their own.
Ike Sriskandara…:Monica Blake-Beasley spent almost 15 years at the Nashville Police Department, and she was one of the few Black women on the force.
Monica Blake-Be…:I went into policing thinking it was all sunshine and rainbows, and that I was just going to go in and fight crime, and do the right thing every day.
Ike Sriskandara…:For years, Blake-Beasley excelled at her job. Her personnel file shows she received multiple awards and letters of recognition, and when she became a school resource officer, her annual performance evaluations were filled with praise. But sometimes Blake-Beasley felt like she was being treated differently because of her gender and race.
Monica Blake-Be…:It was heartbreaking.
Ike Sriskandara…:So, she spoke out about it, and she thinks that’s what eventually put a target on her back. Today, Samantha Max from WPLN News is telling us about her investigation into the Nashville Police Department. Before we get started, we should tell you that Samantha is going to be describing disturbing allegations of sexual assault.
Samantha Max:On May 2nd, 2016, Monica Blake-Beasley says she was sexually assaulted by a fellow officer, who she had dated on and off for several years. She says he’d been violent with her in the past, and on this particular night, Blake-Beasley says, he strangled her until she passed out. Then, she says, he raped her.
Samantha Max:More than five years later, it still gives her nightmares, but even has an officer who had been trained to help people who have been sexually assaulted or abused, she was afraid to report it at the time.
Monica Blake-Be…:I was terrified to come forward for many different reasons, but the number one reason is because I knew that officers just don’t tell on other officers. In law enforcement, we have what’s called the blue wall of silence.
Samantha Max:Blake-Beasley says that blue wall of silence teaches police to keep things inside the family, so to speak. And when you tell on another officer, she says, there’s hell to pay. But in a case like this, she didn’t think the unwritten rules should apply to her.
Monica Blake-Be…:I had physical marks. I had gone to the doctor. It was a horrendous, scary, life-threatening attack. Not to mention, these are the kind of calls that we answer every day.
Samantha Max:Blake-Beasley wanted to think her fellow officers would understand why something like this needed to be reported, but she says they didn’t.
Monica Blake-Be…:What I discovered was that there was an expectation that my blue trumps the fact that I’m a woman. I should have been quiet if I wanted to keep harmony within my job. And I knew that I would be forced into making some decisions, but never did I think I would have to choose between justice and my job.
Samantha Max:After Blake-Beasley reported the assault, the district attorney charged the officer who’d attacked her, Julian Pirtle, with rape and aggravated assault. The police department took his gun and badge while they conducted an internal investigation.
Samantha Max:But then, Blake-Beasley started to feel like she was the one in trouble. Her chain of command launched a disciplinary investigation against her that was unrelated to the assault. They wanted to know why she hadn’t immediately sent an alert about a child abuse allegation after her supervisor told her to. She would have done this by using her police radio, so they asked her where she had put it after leaving work that day. Blake-Beasley contradicted herself during the interview when trying to remember whether she had put her gear in her trunk or her passenger seat.
Samantha Max:The Office of Professional Accountability told prosecutors and Pirtle’s defense attorney that Blake-Beasley was accused of being untruthful during the investigation. Kathy Murante is director of the office, and says the department was required to share the information with both sides. The department ultimately decided Blake-Beasley wasn’t lying, but not before questions had started circulating about her honesty.
Samantha Max:Prosecutors decided to drop the rape charge against Pirtle, who denied the allegations. He resigned from the department and pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. A judge sentenced him to three years of probation with no jail time.
Samantha Max:Blake-Beasley was terrified, and she believed the department had tried to undermine the case.
Monica Blake-Be…:I know what it was like to be victimized by the suspect, and then turn around and feel that I was being victimized by the police department, by the defense attorney, by the judge, who lowered his bond after he violated the order of protection. You know, when you go about everything and do things the right way, and the systems that are in place still fail you, it leaves you wondering, who do you turn to? And you end up having to be your own hero.
Samantha Max:When Blake-Beasley accused a fellow officer of rape, she crossed an unspoken line. In the three years following the assault, the department launched six disciplinary investigations into Blake-Beasley’s behavior. Many were for things that felt silly and arbitrary to her: Picking up her daughter from a dance class before completing an investigation. Recording a testimonial video for a local magician who performed at her kid’s birthday party. Forgetting to file paperwork for a security job at her apartment complex four years earlier.
Samantha Max:Each minor infraction she was punished for seemed to her like payback for speaking up, and Blake-Beasley says she lost all trust in the system that was supposed to protect good officers and hold the bad ones accountable.
Monica Blake-Be…:To find out that we actually had separate groups governed by separate rules, according to who you were and your ability to either grin and bear it or turn a cheek, nothing about that felt like justice to me.
Samantha Max:Murante from the Office of Professional Accountability denies that the investigations were retaliatory, but Blake-Beasley believes she had uncovered a dual disciplinary system at the Nashville Police Department: one for those who honor the blue wall of silence, and another for those who don’t. WPLM News and APM Reports spent a year working to investigate it.
Samantha Max:Interviews with more than 20 current and former NMPD employees reveal a pattern of retaliation when people complain or challenge the status quo, especially for female and non-white employees.
Anthony Reyes:They didn’t like me because they knew I wasn’t, you know, a yes-man.
Eric Harvey:If you’re not really drinking the Kool Aid and stuff like that, you’re not going to move far unless you just keep your head down.
Julie Riggs:I was bucking the system. I wasn’t doing things the way they wanted it done. And so, then I became public enemy number one.
Samantha Max:In a department that is predominantly male and white, they say there’s little room for complaints or differences of opinion. John Drake, who became the new police chief in 2020, has pledged to diversify the force and recruit officers who can better relate to the communities they serve. But for years, the few who do think differently say they have often been pushed to the sidelines, and that those who rock the boat are often disciplined, passed over for assignments, or forced to leave the department all together.
Kimberly Forsyt…:I had to resign. I had to resign.
Gilbert Ramirez:There was no grace. There was no forgiving spirit. It was all about just getting rid of people and firing people and demoting people. It killed me, because it’s not right, what they did to me.
Samantha Max:But when some officers are accused of serious misconduct, they manage to get by with little or no discipline. Sometimes they’re even promoted. Current and former employees told me, it largely depends on whether you’re in good favor with the leaders of the department and the Office of Professional Accountability.
Marita Granberr…:I mean, it was obvious that some got away with whatever, with little taps on the wrist, and then others, they were like, beating them down.
Samantha Max:Those were the voices of current and former Nashville police officers Anthony Reyes, Eric Harvey, Julie Riggs, Gilbert Ramirez, Kimberly Forsyth, and Marita Granberry. And those anecdotes are backed up in data and records.
Samantha Max:WPLN News and APM Reports have reviewed more than a dozen lawsuits and internal complaints from officers who say they faced discrimination. We’ve also obtained thousands of pages of personnel files and 10 years of demographic and disciplinary data from the department. It shows that minority employees accused of wrongdoing faced higher rates of severe discipline than their white colleagues.
Samantha Max:In other words, people of color received harsh punishments more often when they were investigated for breaking the rules. And the gap was particularly large for Black women like Blake-Beasley. Black female employees who were investigated for policy violations were suspended, demoted, or terminated at more than twice the rate of white employees.
Samantha Max:Chief Drake did not respond to detailed questions about our findings, and said he could not answer for decisions made by his predecessors. But the numbers reflect what Blake-Beasley’s been doing for years.
Monica Blake-Be…:There are tons of policies in place that say, you cannot be discriminatory. You will not be retaliatory. But when it comes down to it, the culture of our police department had allowed these things to thrive, and no one has been willing to step up and make them stop. So, I am very grateful that we are now at this juncture, where even though they do not want to listen, they are having to listen, because it’s no longer their dirty little secret.
Samantha Max:Blake-Beasley was one of the first officers to expose this pattern in court. In 2018, she filed a lawsuit accusing the department of multiple federal civil rights violations. In April of 2019, the city of Nashville agreed to settle Blake-Beasley’s suit for $150,000. The blue wall was starting to crumble, and her story got another officer’s attention. One woman decided that if Blake-Beasley had the courage to come forward, she could, too.
Samantha Max:Just a few months after Blake-Beasley’s settlement, a female former officer lodged a complaint against her captain in the criminal investigations division. We’re going to call her Accuser Number One. You’re about to hear a recording from a 2019 investigation by the city’s human resources department. We’ve altered Accuser Number One’s voice, because she’s afraid of retribution and may be the victim of a sex crime.
Accuser #1:You know, kind of starting back in 2016, I was sexually assaulted by my captain, Captain Jason Reinbold in his office.
Samantha Max:Captain Jason Reinbold. Nearly a year before he made headlines for yelling at a nanny, a former officer accused him of sexual assault.
Accuser #1:Would you like me to go into that?
Samantha Max:Then, Accuser Number One launched into a story she’d shared with only a handful of relatives and colleagues in the past three years, a story that still haunted her, that she says sent her to the hospital with post traumatic stress disorder, and that she says ultimately ended her career. She said it happened on a quiet day at the office, when the police department was moving out of its old headquarters downtown.
Accuser #1:We were just chit-chatting, and I remember he kept looking, there was a screen that was on the wall, and that screen showed a view of the hallway, where people coming and going.
Samantha Max:The officer wondered why Reinbold kept looking at the screen. Then, she said, he got up and stood in front of the door.
Accuser #1:He locks the door and he turns around.
Samantha Max:Then, Accuser Number One said, Reinbold asked to touch her breast.
Accuser #1:And I was… I was scared. I was just like, “Yeah, I mean, touch it.”
Samantha Max:Accuser Number One didn’t know what else to say. She’d never seen a man block the door and lock her in, especially not her own supervisor. So, she blurted out a yes. And then, she said, he groped her left breast. Accuser Number One couldn’t remember exactly what happened next, if she said anything, how she managed to leave, but eventually she did.
Accuser #1:And I just walked out, and I just felt humiliated. I felt embarrassed. I was like, what just happened to me? And he’s my captain. What am I supposed to say?
Samantha Max:Accuser Number One told HR she wished she’d been strong enough to come forward sooner, but she hadn’t been ready back in 2016, and she hadn’t wanted to destroy Reinbold’s reputation. Accuser Number One didn’t mention it to HR, but in later investigations, she said she and Reinbold had dated for a few months about a decade before the alleged assault. He was six years older and three ranks superior. He was also married.
Samantha Max:Reinbold didn’t respond to questions about the affair or Accuser Number One’s other allegations, but Accuser Number One still has a sexually explicit book she says he gave her for valentine’s day, signed by Reinbold.
Accuser #1:You know, I was so worried about him. How can I tell people that this happened? And what about Jason? He’s married. He’s got kids. What about his career? You know, that was the first thing I thought about. It wasn’t me. I wasn’t thinking about me.
Samantha Max:But now, Accuser Number One had left the department on a medical pension for PTSD, and she didn’t want to go silently.
Accuser #1:How can I just turn my back and leave the department and not do something? Because I was treated wrongly, and I don’t feel like I can have any justice with this. If I have to start over, I can’t go back to policing. I don’t feel safe, period.
Samantha Max:After Accuser Number One shared her story with the city’s HR department, an investigator confronted Reinbold about the investigation in a separate interview.
Alfredo Arevalo:There is a specific allegation I want to ask you about, and I’ll tell you what that is, and just kind of get your reaction.
Samantha Max:The investigator told Reinbold what Accuser Number One had said in her interview.
Jason Reinbold:No. That’s… that’s crazy.
Samantha Max:Reinbold denied the allegation.
Jason Reinbold:I mean, there’s… I think that… It will get me upset, and I don’t want to get upset, but it’s a clear shot in the dark.
Samantha Max:Reinbold called the accusation a shot in the dark. He tried to connect it to a relationship she’d had in the past with a different supervisor. When HR asked if Reinbold and Accuser Number One were friends, he said they had been in the past, but he insisted they’d had virtually no relationship since he’d taken over the criminal investigations division in 2015.
Jason Reinbold:I’ve had many female employees that I’ve supervised by command level, not direct supervision, but there have been many that I’ve directly supervised. At no point do I befriend them to the level of a inappropriate relationship.
Samantha Max:Reinbold vehemently denied the assault, but then he took it a step further. He had already noted earlier in the interview, the department policy instructs employees to report any harassment or discrimination, including sexual misconduct, whether they are a witness or a victim. When confronted about Accuser Number One’s sexual assault allegation, Reinbold doubled down.
Alfredo Arevalo:But if she had experienced something like that, you’re saying the police policy is that she can report it to anybody?
Jason Reinbold:She is not only just could, she should. She shall. She is required to report it.
Samantha Max:So, Reinbold had flipped this accusation on its head. He said the department policy required Accuser Number One to report misconduct. Reinbold said she could have turned to hundreds of supervisors. Instead, she’d waited nearly three years to bring a complaint.
Samantha Max:It was a classic case of he said, she said. HR couldn’t prove or disprove anything without evidence, so they sent their findings back to Reinbold’s supervisor at the police department and said that he could decide if he wanted to investigate further. But no record of an internal investigation appears in Reinhold’s department files, and the captain never faced any discipline for it. The police department says that’s because HR couldn’t substantiate Accuser Number One’s allegations. So, the only formal complaint of sexual misconduct against Reinbold never went anywhere. It remained hidden behind the blue wall.
Ike Sriskandara…:Reinbold would continue to lead the police department’s criminal investigations division. That is, until the nanny’s video put him in the spotlight in the spring of 2020. But he’s just one guy. Soon, more allegations of bad behavior within Nashville’s police department started coming to light. That’s next on Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX.
Al Letson:I know. I know it’s hard. You wait all week for this podcast, and then it’s over, and you find yourself wanting more. Let me make a recommendation: the Reveal newsletter. It goes behind the scenes into how we make and report these stories. Subscribe now at RevealNews.org/Newsletter.
Ike Sriskandara…:From the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, this is Reveal. I’m Ike Sriskandarajah, in for Al Letson. Today, we’re looking at a Me Too moment in the Nashville Police Department. A viral video caught a captain cursing at a nanny and three kids.
Jason Reinbold:Children, you want to stay and listen to me fucking cuss all day?
Speaker 7:Stop saying curse words!
Jason Reinbold:Say it! Say it with me! “Oh, shit!”
Speaker 7:Stop saying curse words!
Ike Sriskandara…:But it didn’t end there. More people started coming forward with complaints against the captain and others within the department. Samantha Max of WPLN News in Nashville investigated those allegations with help from APM Reports. She’s going to tell us what happened next. A quick warning, you’re about to hear about sexual assault and suicide.
Samantha Max:On a hot and sunny day last June, I met Greta McClain at a park in Nashville. She didn’t set out to become the Nashville Police Department’s most vocal critic, but she is the thread that ties all these stories together. McClain is a sexual assault survivor, and she’s a former Nashville police officer who once had deep ties to the department she’s now trying to hold accountable.
Greta McClain:I absolutely adored being a police officer. I really did. It was a dream come true.
Samantha Max:When McClain joined the department in the ’90s, she thought her own experience with sexual assault would make her a better detective.
Greta McClain:When I was in college, my junior year, a employee at the rec center had grabbed me and forcibly fondled me, and it was quite traumatic for a 21-year-old.
Samantha Max:She decided to join the sex crimes unit to help survivors, but she says it didn’t feel like her male colleagues were always on the same page, and that started to wear on her. So, after about a decade, she decided to leave law enforcement, and one day transition into full time advocacy. Almost 20 years later, McClain was raped by a stranger in a parking lot, and it eventually prompted her to start her own nonprofit to support survivors of sexual assault.
Greta McClain:It was obviously a life-changing, traumatic experience. Being a former police officer, I was very hesitant to tell anyone, because I didn’t think that they would believe me. I myself didn’t believe that an officer, or former officer, could be raped, so I figured, why would anybody else believe me?
Samantha Max:McClain kept the assault secret for several days. She dodged questions about the black eye and bruises on her body. Eventually, she told a few people, but the former sexual assault detective never reported the incident to police. She was too ashamed. And that guilt started to eat away at her.
Greta McClain:Somewhere around the end of September of 2017, I seriously started contemplating suicide, and by mid-October, I was actually one night just like, you know what, I can’t do this anymore. I had actually begun praying every night before I fell asleep that God would allow me not to wake up. And I… sorry. I had gotten to the point that I was writing my goodbye letters.
Samantha Max:McClain said she was going to do it the next day, but she couldn’t find the words for her final goodbye letter.
Greta McClain:I just got frustrated and said, I’ve got to get this done. I said, I’ve got to get these into people’s mailboxes before I kill myself. But staring and trying wasn’t helping.
Samantha Max:McClain set said the letter and picked up her phone, desperate for a distraction. As she scrolled through social media, she saw a hashtag that seemed to be popping up all over her feed. Two words: Me Too.
Samantha Max:The Harvey Weinstein story had just published. Suddenly, celebrities, friends, all sorts of people were sharing their stories of sexual abuse.
Greta McClain:And I’m like, dang! I knew it was prevalent, but I didn’t know this many people had experienced it, and if they had the courage to keep putting one foot forward, day after day after day, then maybe I can too.
Samantha Max:McClain stopped writing the letter.
Greta McClain:And said, I’m going to make it until tomorrow. And then the next day, I’m going to make it until tomorrow. And just kept that mantra. Sometimes it would seem like hundreds of times a day, but kept that mantra. And I thought, you know what, I can continue to wallow in depression and self-pity, or I can use this trauma to help others, and maybe save one other person.
Samantha Max:So McClain got involved with the local women’s march. Then she started Silent No Longer. It was very grassroots, just four volunteers, herself included. A vigil here, a workshop there. The group was struggling to pick up momentum, until someone McClain knew shot a viral video.
Erin McDermott:I’m going to post it on Facebook, because you just called me a fat… in front of my kids.
Samantha Max:Erin McDermott is the nanny Reinbold cursed out in his backyard in April of 2020. She had met the Silent No Longer founder a few years back through the local women’s march, and she thought maybe the organization could help.
Samantha Max:After McDermott posted the video of Reinbold, she says messages started to pop up in her inbox.
Erin McDermott:From women within the department. Women I had never met. Women who just found me online. Found the video on YouTube, or had seen it on the news. And it just, it became very overwhelming.
Samantha Max:McDermott felt a duty to help the women who had shared their stories with her.
Erin McDermott:I mean, to be completely blunt, he screwed with the wrong woman.
Samantha Max:But she was afraid to go up against the department on her own. So, she reached out to McClain and asked for help. She hoped to put Silent No Longer in touch with the police who told her they’d been mistreated or sexually abused within the department.
Samantha Max:At first, McClain wasn’t sure. She wanted to help, but she was also afraid to pick a fight with the police department.
Greta McClain:This is a big deal. Do we really want to get the power of the police department against us?
Samantha Max:But the group decided it was worth the risk.
Greta McClain:This is exactly why we created Silent No Longer, to speak for those who are afraid to speak for themselves. So, I called her back and I said, “We’re all in.”
Samantha Max:Phone calls and emails started pouring in. More than 40 current and former employees would eventually share their stories with McClain. Many accusers had come forward anonymously, but the details they shared were vivid. One woman said a colleague had chased her around her patrol car and tried to kiss her. Another said male supervisors often stood in the hallway and ranked women’s breasts, lips and butts as they walked past. Some described harassment so intense that it caused sleepless nights, panic attacks, and even thoughts of suicide.
Samantha Max:The accusers named several leaders of the department in their complaints, and a few said they had been mistreated by Jason Reinbold. The concerns they raised were bigger than just one person. There were many high-ranking and well-connected officers at the department who accusers said were protected from serious consequences, even when the impact on their victims was crippling or career-ending. Meanwhile, they said people who weren’t part of the so-called good old boys’ club were punished harshly for minor slip-ups.
Samantha Max:The nanny’s video had exposed a secret at the Nashville Police Department. Officers who had been too afraid to speak up about misconduct felt like they couldn’t hold it in any longer.
Greta McClain:I’m going to start off with reading a short statement.
Samantha Max:That’s Greta McClain, about four months after Captain Jason Reinbold yelled at a babysitter in his backyard. The former detective held a press conference on Zoom.
Greta McClain:In mid-April, I was approached by a Metro Nashville Police Department employee who stated that she had been sexually assaulted by Captain Jason Reinbold. She also stated that Captain Reinbold had discriminated against her because of her gender, and that others within the department retaliated against her when she reported the incident.
Samantha Max:That woman was Accuser Number One, the former officer who reported Reinbold to HR in 2019. Others told McClain that Reinbold was one of the good old boys at the department. They said people faced backlash if they tried to report a member of the group, or that their complaints were disregarded if they even found the courage to come forward. Few did.
Samantha Max:For many in the department, these revelations weren’t new, but for years, they’d been hidden from the public eye, behind the blue wall.
Greta McClain:We are highly concerned that this toxic culture has been allowed to fester and thrive within the department for too long.
Samantha Max:McClain said she didn’t want to attack law enforcement. She said she was proud to have served the citizens of Nashville as a police officer, and that the vast majority of cops do their best to serve the city with integrity.
Greta McClain:But it’s very difficult to keep the faith, and to do what is already a very difficult job, when many of those in power abuse that power and use their authority to intimidate those who are truly trying to serve the community honorably.
Samantha Max:I’ve seen the allegations against multiple high-ranking members of the department. Silent No Longer granted me full access to their attorney’s case file. The thick three-ring binders contain transcripts of interviews with current and former employees who said they’ve been mistreated by colleagues and supervisors, some naming Reinbold. They also include police records, emails, and letters from whistleblowers.
Samantha Max:There’s no physical proof that any of the allegations against Reinbold are true. These are incidents that often had no witnesses, no video, no police report. Accuser Number One is the only person with a documented complaint, and it didn’t go anywhere. She’s also the only Reinbold accuser who’s agreed to speak with me.
Samantha Max:In multiple conversations over the past year, her story has never wavered, and the details she shared with me reflect the account she gave to HR in 2019. A prosecutor who reviewed the case believed Reinbold had groped Accuser Number One.
Tammy Meade:I had no reason to disbelieve her, and everything she told me made sense.
Samantha Max:That’s Assistant District Attorney Tammy Meade. She’s been a prosecutor for a quarter of a century, and she thinks this was a case of a male supervisor trying to exert power and control over a female subordinate.
Tammy Meade:She didn’t sound like an officer. She sounded like a woman who had been victimized. And the reason she didn’t report made sense to me. Everything she said made sense.
Samantha Max:Accuser Number One is the only person who agreed to speak with state agents for a criminal investigation. Meade went through their findings and wanted to charge Reinbold with assault, but by the time Accuser Number One came forward, it was too late. The statute of limitations had expired.
Tammy Meade:It’s always disappointing to me when I have to tell someone, “I believe you. I would love to be able to do this for, you, but the statute of limitations says I cannot.”
Samantha Max:Accuser Number One is too afraid to have her name or voice published, and she has no physical evidence to prove her case, so it’s her word against Reinbold’s.
Samantha Max:Reinbold called the accusations against him completely untrue.
Jason Reinbold:There was a tremendous amount of slander that was being put into the media.
Samantha Max:That’s Reinbold. He’s speaking with an investigator from the office of professional accountability in October of 2020. Silent No Longer had exposed the allegations against him just a couple months earlier, and he was still hoping to convince the department that his version of the story was the true one.
Jason Reinbold:All that slander, I intended, started, began talking to attorneys, and I needed to prepare myself for filing lawsuits against those individuals for slander.
Samantha Max:Reinbold claimed a group was colluding against him to spread false stories of sexual misconduct. The list of alleged slanders included the nanny, Erin McDermott, and Greta McClain from Silent No Longer. He also named Monica Blake-Beasley, who had voiced her support for sexual assault survivors on Twitter, and Accuser Number One. Reinbold requested all the former officers’ personnel files.
Monica Blake-Be…:I get a letter in the mail that says my file has been requested by Reinbold.
Samantha Max:That’s Blake-Beasley.
Monica Blake-Be…:I was immediately, immediately offended. I have a whole file with details of how I was strangled and raped and treated poorly by the police department, on top of my home address, anything in my personnel file, and now he’s got access to it?
Samantha Max:Blake-Beasley filed a complaint with the Office of Professional Accountability, She says she felt intimidated, but even before her complaint came in, internal affairs had opened in inquiry. They wanted to know why Reinbold had requested the files.
Jason Reinbold:I wanted to show the pattern that was clearly created by themselves, that they got a group of liars together. There’s no other way to put it. And that would be what would be used against them later.
Samantha Max:He said he didn’t realized they’d all be notified. Reinbold insisted that they were the ones who were lying.
Jason Reinbold:And for them to team up in an effort to target or harass me. I wanted that to be a part of the lawsuit as we go forward.
Samantha Max:The department didn’t discipline Reinbold for allegedly intimidating people who had accused him of misconduct. They didn’t discipline him for alleged sexual harassment or assault. But he did get in trouble for a reason so trivial in the grand scheme of things that it’s almost comical: a flash drive.
Alfredo Arevalo:Last time we spoke, I asked you at the very end, do you have any question or anything to add that has not been covered during our interview, and you responded no.
Samantha Max:That’s investigator Alfredo Arevalo speaking with Reinbold about six weeks after their first interview regarding the records request.
Alfredo Arevalo:I later in my investigation found a couple of things, some of the stuff that you’ve said today. Is there a reason why you left out so much information that would have been pertinent to this investigation?
Jason Reinbold:No. I mean, is there any reason for it? I’m sorry, no. I… No. I’m sorry.
Jason Reinbold:I wasn’t thinking that way. I’m telling you, I was not thinking in that direction.
Samantha Max:In their first interview, Reinbold had been adamant that he had requested the files on his own personal time. Today, he wasn’t so sure.
Alfredo Arevalo:On October 6, 2020, your statements were that you act as a citizen, you used your personal email address off-duty for these requests. Is that correct?
Jason Reinbold:Yeah, as far as I recall, yes.
Alfredo Arevalo:Okay. And I have this quick clip, just in case you didn’t know what your statement was.
Jason Reinbold:Yeah, I understand.
Jason Reinbold:“I acted as a citizen. I utilized my personal email address off-duty on getting these requests.”
Jason Reinbold:Yeah.
Alfredo Arevalo:And are those still your statements today? Okay.
Samantha Max:Arevalo hands Reinbold a copy of the email he sent requesting the files. It’s timestamped 9:19 PM, when Reinbold was on duty.
Alfredo Arevalo:So, you acknowledge you sent this on shift?
Jason Reinbold:Yeah. That’s… I honestly… I honestly don’t recall even that… I honestly don’t recall specifically knowing I was on or off duty when submitting this request.
Samantha Max:There was another major detail Reinbold had left out in the last interview. When he’d requested the files, the records department had told him it would cost about $750 to get copies. Reinbold was determined to sue his detractors and prove them wrong in court, but he wasn’t ready to shell out hundreds of dollars to do it. So, the department offered to let him look at the documents on a computer and take notes.
Alfredo Arevalo:Then, did anything significant happen while viewing the files that first time?
Jason Reinbold:Yes, yeah. I was under the impression I could capture them electronically. I utilized a phone to start taking pictures of it, and then I was informed I couldn’t do that, and that’s why I stopped.
Samantha Max:But then, Reinbold went back a second time.
Alfredo Arevalo:Did you in any way reproduce the files, whether pictures, video, flash drive, email, or…
Jason Reinbold:I did. I did.
Alfredo Arevalo:What did you do?
Jason Reinbold:I had a flash drive.
Alfredo Arevalo:Okay. Did you know you weren’t supposed to have the flash drive?
Jason Reinbold:I do.
Alfredo Arevalo:And is there a reason why you still reproduced files?
Jason Reinbold:Yeah. It was just too much information to not acquire.
Samantha Max:So, Reinbold admits that he was trying to make unauthorized copies of documents. Arevalo and Reinbold discuss why the captain didn’t share all this information the first time around. Then the investigator rifles through a stack of papers and says he’ll be right back.
Alfredo Arevalo:Give me one second.
Samantha Max:The door shuts, and for about eight and a half minutes, all you can hear on the recording is the ticking of a clock and Reinbold’s occasional movement or grunt.
Jason Reinbold:Hmm!
Samantha Max:Then the door clicks open again, and Reinbold asks if he can speak with Kathy Murante, the director of the Office of Professional Accountability.
Jason Reinbold:I was hoping to speak with Kathy Murante.
Samantha Max:Reinbold banters with one of the women in the office. Then Murante walks in.
Jason Reinbold:Can I speak with you for a minute?
Kathy Murante:Absolutely. [inaudible]
Samantha Max:Reinbold and Murante talk in another room. Again, you just hear the ticking clock until they emerge about six minutes later.
Kathy Murante:So, let me just ask you ask you about that there.
Samantha Max:Six more minutes pass. Then the door clicks again, and Investigator Arevalo speaks into the recorder.
Alfredo Arevalo:Captain Reinbold has requested to resign. This interview will cease. It is 10:11 hours.
Monica Blake-Be…:I think that speaks to the culture.
Samantha Max:Monica Blake-Beasley says Reinbold’s treatment in the department reflects a larger pattern. Reinbold got to keep his rank after Accuser Number One complained to the city’s human resources department, after the nanny incident, and after Silent No Longer uncovered more claims against him. Even when the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation launched a criminal probe into Accuser Number One’s allegations, Blake-Beasley’s complaint about the records was finally the thing that did him in.
Samantha Max:But Reinbold got to leave on his own terms. He retired with a pension. Meanwhile, Blake-Beasley felt like she got cheated out of her career.
Monica Blake-Be…:It leaves officers feeling abandoned. It leaves officers feeling like there is no justice. And for me, it left me feeling like I was disgusted to put on my uniform.
Samantha Max:Blake-Beasley says some days, putting on her uniform made her feel like she was part of the problem. Part of an institution that so many Americans had come to resent, because the department wasn’t doing enough to hold itself accountable.
Monica Blake-Be…:It leaves officers feeling helpless. If you wonder why morale is so low, it’s because officers are going to work not being able to trust the very people who are there to uphold justice. And if you can’t trust the police, who do you go to?
Ike Sriskandara…:That was Samantha Max from WPLN News in Nashville.
Ike Sriskandara…:Since Reinbold retired, the city’s civilian oversight board has asked the police department to make him ineligible to be rehired. He’s been working as a manager at a honky tonk bar.
Ike Sriskandara…:Today’s show touched on discussions of suicide. If you are struggling right now, you can get help. Call the national suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Again, that’s 1-800-273-8255.
Ike Sriskandara…:Thanks to the whole team at WPLN News and APM Reports for bringing us this week’s show, especially reporter Samantha Max, and editors Chas Sisk and Dave Mann. Will Craft, Curtis Gilbert and Jose Martinez contributed reporting. And special thanks to Andrea Zelensky. Archival news footage came from Fox 17. For more on this story, visit WPLN.org.
Ike Sriskandara…:Reveal’s Catherine Muskowsky was the lead producer for this week’s episode. Cynthia Rodriquez was our editor. Victoria Baranetsky is our general counsel. Our production manager is Amy Mustafa. Score and sound design by Jim Briggs and Fernando Arruda. They had help this week from Steven Rascone, Catherine Steyer-Martinez, and Jess Alvarenga.
Ike Sriskandara…:Our digital producer is Sarah Mirk. Our CEO is Kaizar Campwala. Sumi Aggarwal is our editor in chief, and our executive producer is Kevin Sullivan. Our theme music is by Camarado Lightning.
Ike Sriskandara…:Support for Reveal is provided by the Reva and David Logan Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, the Hellman Foundation, the Democracy Fund, and the Inasmuch foundation.
Ike Sriskandara…:Reveal is a co-production of the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX. I’m Ike Sriskandarajah, and if Al Letson was here, I’m sure he would want to remind you, there is always more to the story.
Al Letson:If you like what we do and you want to help, well, it’s pretty simple. Just write us a review on Apple Podcast. It’s easy and only takes a few seconds. Just open the Apple Podcast app on your phone, search for Reveal, then scroll down to where you see “write a review.” And there, tell them how much you love the host.
Al Letson:Your review makes it easier for listeners to find us, and, well, it really does make a difference. And if you do it, you will get a personal thank you from me, like, right now. Like, thank… wait, not him. No, no. You. Yes, you. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. All right.
Speaker 24:From PRX.

Cynthia Rodriguez

Cynthia Rodriguez is a senior radio editor for Reveal. She is an award-winning journalist who came to Reveal from New York Public Radio, where she spent nearly two decades covering everything from the city’s dramatic rise in family homelessness to police’s fatal shootings of people with mental illness.

In 2019, Rodriguez was part of Caught, a podcast that documents how the problem of mass incarceration starts with the juvenile justice system. Caught received an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award for outstanding journalism in the public interest. Her other award-winning stories include investigations into the deaths of construction workers during New York City's building boom and the “three-quarter house” industry – a network of independent, privately run buildings that pack vulnerable people into unsanitary, overcrowded buildings in exchange for their welfare funds.

In 2013, Rodriguez was one of 13 journalists to be selected as a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan, where her study project was on the intersection of poverty and mental health. She is based in New York City but is originally from San Antonio, Texas, and considers both places home.

Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior reporter and producer for Reveal. She's also been a senior writer for Salon and Fast Company. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, Slate and on NPR's "All Things Considered."

Her coverage has won national awards, including the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award two years in a row, an Online News Association Award, a Webby Award and a Society of Environmental Journalists Award. Mieszkowski has a bachelor's degree from Yale University. She is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.

Amy Mostafa (she/they) is the production manager for Reveal. She is a UC Berkeley School of Journalism alum, where she focused on audio and data journalism as a Dean's Merit Fellow and an ISF Scholar. She has reported on science, health and the environment in Anchorage for Alaska Public Media and on city government in Berkeley and San Francisco for KQED. Her work also has appeared on NPR, KALW and KALX. Mostafa holds a bachelor's degree in English literature and public policy. She has most recently reported on housing and aging in the Bay Area. She is based in Reveal’s Emeryville, California, office.

Sarah Mirk (she/her) is a digital engagement producer for Reveal. Since 2017, she has worked as an editor at The Nib, an online daily comics publication focused on political cartoons, graphic journalism, essays and memoirs about current affairs. She works with artists to create nonfiction comics on a variety of complex topics, from personal narratives about queer identities to examinations of overlooked history. Before that, Mirk was the online editor of national feminist media outlet Bitch, a podcast host and a local news reporter. She is also the author of several books, including “Year of Zines,” a collection of 100 handmade zines, and “Guantanamo Voices,” a collection of illustrated oral histories of the world’s most infamous prison. Mirk is based in Portland, Oregon.

Jim Briggs III is the senior sound designer, engineer and composer for Reveal. He supervises post-production and composes original music for the public radio show and podcast. He also leads Reveal's efforts in composition for data sonification and live performances.

Prior to joining Reveal in 2014, Briggs mixed and recorded for clients such as WNYC Studios, NPR, the CBC and American Public Media. Credits include “Marketplace,” “Selected Shorts,” “Death, Sex & Money,” “The Longest Shortest Time,” NPR’s “Ask Me Another,” “Radiolab,” “Freakonomics Radio” and “Soundcheck.” He also was the sound re-recording mixer and sound editor for several PBS television documentaries, including “American Experience: Walt Whitman,” the 2012 Tea Party documentary "Town Hall" and “The Supreme Court” miniseries. His music credits include albums by R.E.M., Paul Simon and Kelly Clarkson.

Briggs' work with Reveal has been recognized with an Emmy Award (2016) and two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards (2018, 2019). Previously, he was part of the team that won the Dart Award for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma for its work on WNYC’s hourlong documentary special “Living 9/11.” He has taught sound, radio and music production at The New School and Eugene Lang College and has a master's degree in media studies from The New School. Briggs is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.

Fernando Arruda

Fernando Arruda is a sound designer, engineer and composer for Reveal. As a multi-instrumentalist, he contributes to the original music, editing and mixing of the weekly public radio show and podcast. He has held four O-1 visas for individuals with extraordinary abilities. His work has been recognized with Peabody, duPont-Columbia, Edward R. Murrow, Gerald Loeb, Third Coast and Association of Music Producers awards, as well as Emmy and Pulitzer nominations. Prior to joining Reveal, Arruda toured as an international DJ and taught music technology at Dubspot and ESRA International Film School. He worked at Antfood, a creative audio studio for media and TV ads, and co-founded a film-scoring boutique called the Manhattan Composers Collective. He worked with clients such as Marvel, MasterClass and Samsung and ad agencies such as Framestore, Trollbäck+Company, BUCK and Vice. Arruda releases experimental music under the alias FJAZZ and has performed with many jazz, classical and pop ensembles, such as SFJAZZ Monday Night Band, Art&Sax quartet, Krychek, Dark Inc. and the New York Arabic Orchestra. His credits in the podcast and radio world include NPR’s “51 Percent,” WNYC’s “Bad Feminist Happy Hour” and its live broadcast of Orson Welles’ “The Hitchhiker,” Wondery’s “Detective Trapp,” MSNBC’s “Why Is This Happening?” and NBC’s “Born to Rule,” to name a few. Arruda also has a wide catalog of composed music for theatrical, orchestral and chamber music formats, some of which has premiered worldwide. He holds a master’s degree in film scoring and composition from NYU Steinhardt. The original music he makes with Jim Briggs for Reveal can be found on Bandcamp.

Steven Rascón (he/they) is a production assistant for Reveal. He is pursuing a master's degree at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism with a Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy Fellowship. His focus is investigative reporting and audio documentary. He has written for online, magazines and radio. His reporting on underreported fentanyl overdoses in Los Angeles' LGBTQ community aired on KCRW and KQED. Rascón is passionate about telling diverse stories for radio through community engagement. He holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in theater arts and creative writing.

Kathryn Styer Martínez

Kathryn Styer Martínez (she/ella) is a production assistant for Reveal. She studies audio and photojournalism at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She is also a Greater Good Science Center reporting fellow, focusing on Latino well-being.

Martínez was the 2020-21 Toni Randolph reporting fellow at Minnesota Public Radio, the 2019-20 New Economy Reporting Project fellow and the former director of KGPC-LP FM, Peralta Community Radio. Her work has appeared in El Tecolote, The Oaklandside, MPR News, National Public Radio, Outside Online, Talk Poverty, New Life Quarterly and Making Contact.

She earned bachelor’s degrees in Raza studies and political science from San Francisco State University.

Jess Alvarenga (they/she) is an associate producer for Reveal. They are an audio producer and documentary filmmaker from the American South. Meeting at the intersection of art and journalism, they use storytelling as a way to document and reimagine immigrant narratives, particularly those of the Central American diaspora. In 2017, Alvarenga was awarded an individual artist grant from the Houston Arts Alliance and the City of Houston for their work on the city’s Central American population. They have a master’s degree in journalism from UC Berkeley.

Kevin Sullivan is the executive producer of Reveal’s public radio show and podcast. He joined Reveal from the daily news magazine show “Here & Now,” where he was senior managing editor. There, he helped lead the expansion of the show as part of a unique partnership between NPR and WBUR. Prior to radio, Sullivan worked as a documentary film producer. That work took him around the world, with stories ranging from reconciliation in Northern Ireland to the refugee crisis during the war in Kosovo.

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Sullivan launched an investigative unit for CBS in Baltimore, where he spearheaded investigations on bioterrorism and the U.S. government’s ability to respond to future threats. He also dug into local issues. His exposé of local judges found widespread lax sentencing of repeat-offender drunken drivers. Other investigations included sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests, and doctors who sold OxyContin for cash. Sullivan has won multiple journalism awards, including several Edward R. Murrow awards, a Third Coast / Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition award and an Emmy. He has an MBA from Boston University.

Sullivan is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.

Ike Sriskandarajah

Ike Sriskandarajah is a senior reporter, producer, and fill-in host for Reveal. He has worked on projects that have won an Emmy, two medals from Investigative Reporters and Editors, and awards from Third Coast, the Education Writers Association, and the New York Associated Press Association. He was a narrative audio producer at The New York Times, making investigative episodes for "The Daily." Sriskandarajah is from Wisconsin and reports from New York City.