The problem with basing a story in reality is covering your own behind in terms of avoiding a lawsuit. The real story has gone beyond complicated: police officers are distant cousins of the real guilty parties; there seem to be cover-ups, character smearing, and gay bashing; hate crimes are rampant; and there is a side story of a series of drug overdoses and a suicide. The real story is far more interesting than anything I could come up with myself.
The challenge, then, is telling this story without bringing a lawsuit upon myself. I don't know everything that I believe to be true, but so far, even my most ludicrous hunches have proven to be correct. What I need is a few private investigators and a really solid work of non-fiction, but many crucial plot points which likely are true are also unverifiable.
So how do I keep the complexity of the story without writing myself into court?