From victims breaking their silence to cover-ups exposed, here are some of the most memorable, moving, and infuriating stories published by BuzzFeed News in 2017.
A 15-Year-Old Says He Was Beaten And Called Racial Slurs, But The Police Won’t Call It A Hate Crime
— Albert Samaha
Indiana is one of five states without hate crime laws. A brutal attack and the frightening aftermath shows how the absence of this legislation leaves victims feeling abandoned.
Nick Hagen for BuzzFeed News
A Murder In Berkeley Gave The Alt-Right Its Perfect Perp — Jessica Testa
After Emilie Inman was stabbed to death in Berkeley, the online far-right seized on the case, not because of the brutality of the crime but because of the suspect’s gender identity, race, and leftist activism. “These are feral ‘people,’ prone to violence. Avoid!”
Emilie Raguso / Via berkeleyside.com
Jerhonda Pace was just 15 when she met her musical idol, R. Kelly, outside his child pornography trial. The alleged underage sexual relationship with him that followed and subsequent payouts mirror decades of allegations against the star.
Kristen Zeis for BuzzFeed News
Here’s What Happens When Someone Burns Down Your Mosque — Hannah Allam
Hours after Trump’s travel ban took effect, someone burned down a small-town Texas mosque. Since then, the mosque has drawn $1 million in donations and countless rosy headlines — so why are its members still terrified?
Lettering by Madelene Wikskaer; Photograph by Ray Whitehouse for BuzzFeed News
Detective Guevara’s Witnesses — Melissa Segura
Chicago Police Detective Reynaldo Guevara is accused of framing at least 51 people for murder. When a group of mothers, aunts, and sisters found that no officials — not the state’s attorney’s office, not the mayor’s office — wanted to take up their cause, the women went in search of justice themselves. Next week a man convicted in one of Guevara’s most dubious cases will be in court for what could be his last chance at freedom. Will prosecutors continue fighting to keep Roberto Almodovar behind bars?
Jon Lowenstein for BuzzFeed News
When a young Salvadoran woman was threatened by a powerful gang, she turned to the United States for help. The violence she suffered while fighting for asylum shows how outdated the system has become.
Matt Chase for BuzzFeed News
The Star Trek: Discovery actor says women speaking out about sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry has compelled him to come forward about the Oscar winner.
Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection
Racist Vandalism In Oregon Is Pulling Residents Into A Free Speech Fight — Albert Samaha, Talal Ansari, and Mike Hayes
Oregon was founded as a white haven, and its constitution banned black residents until 1926. A century later, swastikas and other racist vandalism are on the rise statewide, but police are struggling with a surprisingly complicated question: What makes a hate crime?
BuzzFeed News; Getty Images
Inside The Pied Piper Of R&B’s “Cult” — Jim DeRogatis
As the R&B legend tours the country, parents have told police that R. Kelly is running an abusive “cult” that’s tearing families apart. Three former members of Kelly’s inner circle told BuzzFeed News similar stories.
Mike Pont / Getty Images
A College Student Admitted To Groping Sleeping Women, But He Might Avoid Prison Time — Tyler Kingkade
A woman found out she and several others had been molested when a man handed her a rambling, handwritten confession. She thought the evidence would put him in prison, but she was wrong.
Jade Cardichon & Lixia Guo for BuzzFeed News
A Prescription For Violence — Rosalind Adams
It was supposed to be a refuge for troubled adolescents and foster kids who had run out of other options. But at Hill Crest Behavioral Health — part of UHS, America’s largest psychiatric hospital chain — a culture of violence flourished. Internal videos show staff members beating and dragging their young patients. And many say the worst abuses happened beyond any camera’s view. A BuzzFeed News investigation.
no ideas / BuzzFeed News
This Teen Troll Fled To The US For Political Asylum. Now He’s Stuck In A Detention Center. — Atossa Araxia Abrahamian
Eighteen-year-old Amos Yee went up against the repressive Singaporean government with ideas and tactics he learned on YouTube. Then he fled to the US to seek asylum in the country that all but invented trolling. Now, he’s stuck in an immigration detention center, in limbo. At a time when internet politics are global, which countries will defend the right to free speech?
Adam Ferriss for BuzzFeed News
She Said A Powerful Congressman Harassed Her. Here’s Why You Didn’t Hear Her Story. — Paul McLeod and Lissandra Villa
“When you make private settlements, it doesn’t warn the next woman or the next person going into that situation.”
How Accusing A Powerful Man of Rape Drove A College Student To Suicide — Katie J.M. Baker
When an Alabama college student told the police she was sexually assaulted, she did everything she thought she was supposed to do. She ended up killing herself.
Courtesy the Rondini Family
From Russia With Blood — Heidi Blake, Tom Warren, Richard Holmes, Jason Leopold, Jane Bradley, and Alex Campbell
Lavish London mansions. A hand-painted Rolls-Royce. And eight dead friends. For the British fixer Scot Young, working for Vladimir Putin’s most vocal critic meant stunning perks — but also constant danger. His gruesome death is one of 14 that US spy agencies have linked to Russia — but the UK police shut down every last case. A bombshell cache of documents today reveals the full story of a ring of death on British soil that the government has ignored.
Rex / Getty / BuzzFeed