“Police in Texas shot 159 people over the past year as Houston led all cities in shootings so far”
September 04, 2016
This story was the first in a series that was published in the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News, and Austin American-Statesman. The reporting was funded by the Charles Koch Foundation.
In this story, the first of a series called “Point of Impact,” I explore statistics about officer-involved shootings by Texas law enforcement of unarmed individuals. To do so, I investigated reports of shootings filed with the state under a new law aimed at increasing transparency in the often high-profile incidents. The story set the tone for the series – that these cases would be fully probed, from every possible angle, and would provide more complete pictures of what happened than other deadline-burdened media are able to. In one case, I explored the subject of mental illness and police interactions in a story about a man killed by law enforcement outside of a hospital where his father took him to seek treatment. Afterwards, I heard from a lawmaker who was proposing more required training for law enforcement in handling mentally ill individuals. As the main researcher on the data required under this new law, I have also found problems in the system, including missing reports. The lawmaker who passed the original bill plans to shore up these gaps by changing the law to tie compliance with it to funding the governor’s office provides to law enforcement agencies.
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Submitted by Eva Ruth Moravec.