TAPinto Newark has won a first-place award from the Center for Cooperative Media for local investigative reporting for its story about an undocumented Mexican immigrant who was picked up by Newark police and turned over to federal immigration authorities, despite Newark's status as a sanctuary city.

The multi-media report by Thomas E. Franklin told the story of Daniel Castro, a 28-year old construction worker who never had an issue with the law in the 15 years he has been in the United States. Castro was in a car, in which his soon to be father-in-law was driving, when police pulled the vehicle over for making an illegal U-turn.

Castro was not charged with any crimes, but he was detained by Newark police for his immigration status issues and turned over to ICE.

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What happened to Castro raised about whether city police have been properly trained in implementing the city’s sanctuary policy, created by a 10-page executive order signed by Mayor Ras J. Baraka in June 2017.

Franklin is a freelance reporter for TAPinto Newark and a full-time professor of multi-media journalism at Montclair State University. He was previously a photojournalist for The Bergen Record and shot the iconic photo of three New York City firefighters raising the American flag at ground zero in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

The photo was turned into a U.S. postage stamp and has been used to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity.

The story was edited by Steve Liebman, the managing editor of TAPinto Newark. Liebman is an experienced editor who spent 20 years at The Star-Ledger, retiring in 2017 as senior director of news content.