Did James Plymell need to die?

Early one morning in October 2019, James Plymell was out of gas on the side of the road in Albany, Oregon. Less than an hour after police responded to help, he was dead — but his death would not be blamed on at least four tasings he received from the police that day. Leah Sottile’s longform investigation reveals a history of force used on Plymell by Albany Police back to 2004, and more than 100 interactions between the department and the unhoused man.

In the end, this story reveals how small cities and towns in the western United States — where unhoused populations are the worst in the country — criminalize homelessness.