“Drowning by Sunrise,” a Florida Center for Investigative Reporting documentary short produced in partnership with The Intercept, won four prizes in the 2020 Green Eyeshade Awards — a contest open to news organizations in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.
Jess Swanson and Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, the co-directors of “Drowning by Sunrise,” won Best in Division for Television, as well as first place in Investigative Reporting for Television, first place in Documentaries for Television, and third place in Videography for Online or Television.
The documentary investigated the death of Damain Martin, a Black teenager who drowned in a canal following a chase by the Sunrise Police Department. A police officer had deployed his Taser near the canal, raising questions about whether Martin, known to be a strong swimmer, had been incapacitated in the water due a Taser strike.
A rough cut of “Drowning by Sunrise” premiered at the Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival in Washington, D.C., in October 2019. The final release was distributed online by The Intercept in December 2019.
Following the release of the documentary, civil rights lawyer Ben Crump announced that he is representing Martin’s family in a lawsuit against the Sunrise Police Department and Broward County. Crump has represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and, most recently, George Floyd.