“If you do nothing else today, please read this.”
“A must-read series […] important, dangerous work here.”
“This might be the year’s most important piece of local journalism.”
“When are we allowed to start nominating Cerise Castle for a Pulitzer?”
We are, to say the least, very glad this series – A Tradition of Violence: The History of Deputy Gangs in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department – has found an audience. It was harrowing to produce precisely for its urgency: surfacing the gruesome history of LASD gangs better provides Los Angeles the tools it needs to put an end to them. It was also, frankly, exhausting, both in terms of energy and resources. It couldn’t have happened without a team of people dedicating all and then some of their available time to its research, editing, writing, and production. Telling the story of deputy gangs in the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department involved poring over (conservatively) tens of thousands of pages of documents. Production of those documents alone cost thousands of dollars.
We’ll also, being Knock LA, say an important thing plainly: Cerise has worked all over town, and there’s a reason – well, several – she published this groundbreaking series through Knock LA.
You may have also noticed that we have a gorgeous new website. Previously, we were not in total control of our content, and one correctly targeted cease & desist letter would have resulted in swift removal of our work.
The throughline on each of these is independence. It’s foundational to the mission of Knock. We don’t run advertisements, and have no interest in currying favor or access. Similarly foundational to our mission is accessibility and the spirit of civic education. We know independent journalism and the civic education it engenders are crucial components of transforming Los Angeles from a bastion of corruption to the city we all know it can be.
That means foregoing two of the only reliable revenue streams for journalistic outlets: advertising and paywall subscriptions. That leaves, essentially, one way to keep the lights on at Knock: your support.
In addition to this series, in just the last year, we’ve broken news about LAHSA and the sweep at Echo Park Lake, law enforcement’s penchant for taking masks off and partying in the midst of a public health crisis, and the ramifications of Prop 22; we’ve published investigations into LAPD K-9 abuse, dismal safety conditions in our jails, and the omniscient presence helicopter surveillance; and we’ve platformed perspectives of unhoused activists, born-and-raised Angelenos, and essential workers you won’t read anywhere else.
We also published the first-ever public, searchable LASD gang database.
Every dollar you commit is a dollar that pays to keep our servers running, to keep writers out in the field or deep in a stack of obscure legal documents, to keep editors poring over every word, keep web designers building things like first-of-its-kind deputy gang databases, and to keep us from ever considering compromising our independence by running ads or limiting access to our work with a paywall.
Every dollar you commit goes to keeping Knock LA sustainably independent.
(If you’re not in a position to support us financially, you can support us by sharing this page – that helps us out a ton too!)
In solidarity, and with wholehearted gratitude for your support,