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Creative Loafing picked up the Green Eyeshade Award for investigative journalism Saturday for "The Bad Cops Club," Mara Shalhoup's cover story on wayward Fulton County deputies and the failure of the sheriff's internal affairs department to discipline them.

It was one of three honors CL writers won in the Green Eyeshade contest. Film and visual arts critic Felicia Feaster took second place in the criticism category for her film reviews, and music editor Roni Sarig placed third in the same category for his critical essays on the South's evolving music scene.

The Green Eyeshade Awards are the Society of Professional Journalists' awards for publications in the Southeast. Creative Loafing competed in the weekly/monthly category.

"The Bad Cops Club" was prompted by Shalhoup's earlier cover story about an Atlanta resident who was severely beaten by a Fulton deputy when he went to a restaurant to pick up a hamburger. Sheriff's department records showed that internal affairs had exonerated the same deputy 10 times, often in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, for alleged offenses against inmates.

Despite foot-dragging by the sheriff's department in responding to her open records requests, Shalhoup was able to find numerous other instances of deputies who, among other things, allegedly beat prisoners and drove drunk.

Sheriff Jacquelyn Barrett at first denied there were any problems. But Barrett eventually fired three deputies, including two mentioned in Shalhoup's stories, and — citing CL's stories — transferred the officer in charge of internal affairs. Barrett also instituted a computerized system to track deputies with multiple complaints filed against them.??

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