Texas Legislature addresses missing reports

On a long day filled with emotional debate over bathroom access and property taxes, there wasn’t much fuss over a Texas lawmaker’s bill that would hold law enforcement agencies accountable for not properly reporting officer-involved shootings to the state. Under the pink dome early Tuesday morning, Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas, presented HB 245, which would add teeth to the reporting requirement. He told the House Homeland Security and […]

Missing reports filed, attracting AP’s attention

First in early February came the story about a dozen fatal officer-involved shootings that weren’t being reported properly to the state. After another round of inquiries, agencies then filed 10 of the missing reports, I then reported a couple of weeks later. Now as the month comes to a close, the Associated Press has reported on Point of Impact’s work, noting: “Attention was drawn to […]

Police shootings of dogs sometimes injure humans too

Pamela Chevalier-Jensen, 39, called the Harris County sheriff’s office last year to report that her house guest’s estranged husband had been issuing threats. But as Chevalier-Jensen stood in the doorway of her Houston home on Aug. 14 holding her American bulldog, the department said, the dog became aggressive and the officer fired a shot. The bullet hit the 18-month-old dog in the face and sent […]

State database on officer-involved shootings has gaps

A dozen officer-involved shootings since September 2015 have not been properly reported to the state attorney general, apparently violating a groundbreaking new Texas law aimed at enhancing transparency in the often-high-profile incidents. At least 12 Texas law enforcement agencies failed to report 10 instances of an officer fatally shooting a civilian, according to an analysis of reports filed through Jan. 31. In some of those […]

Texas’ top judges concerned about trust in criminal justice system

A daylong summit on race in the justice system for Texas judges recently held in Dallas was initially supposed to be 20-minute shorts aired nationally on the Public Broadcasting Service. “But we’re different here in Texas,” said Nathan Hecht, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Texas at the December summit in Dallas. “We decided instead just to invite all the judges.” Personal invitations from […]

Case 3: Are Castle Doctrine cases handled differently when officers are involved?

For 96 hours each year, Robert Malone dons a Potter County Sheriff’s Office uniform and volunteers as a reserve deputy, a position that keeps his 25-year peace officer license current. The license empowers Malone – and all who wear a badge – to perform certain duties while on-duty. But when he used deadly force to defend his property from burglars he was off-duty and legally, […]

Training day with the TPA

Getting out of your comfort zone is a must-do for journalists, in my opinion. That’s one reason why I felt it was important to take a training course for law enforcement put on by the Texas Police Association recently. Most of the participants were Texas Department of Public Safety officers (and brass) who are now required to take the eight-hour verbal de-escalation class. It was an […]

Mental health issues examined in second Point of Impact case

Perhaps because this incident took place in Paris, Texas, where few knew Garrett Steven McKinney, this shooting from September 2015 attracted little attention. Through records and interviews, Point of Impact examines the incident in an effort to explain more about why unarmed people are sometimes shot and killed by law enforcement. McKinney’s shooti ng is one of 19 under review during this year-long project. Posted in full on […]

Case 2: Texas DPS shooting ends man’s battle with mental illness

Three minutes passed between friendly fist-bump and deadly shooting. State Trooper Timothy Keele spotted Garrett Steven McKinney on the evening of Sept. 21, 2015 straddling a concrete highway barrier in the North Texas town of Paris. McKinney, still built as he was during his football days at Bowie High School, was waving his arms and kicking up his legs at passing cars. What Keele didn’t […]

Case 1: Gun range shootings accounted for 3 police shootings in past year

  Irving police officer Graham Smith, a 25-year veteran, was helping lead a training session at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport’s shooting range when he got shot — by a fellow officer. That day — Sept. 8, 2015 — Smith, then 44, was injured after a piece of a bullet ricocheted off a target and struck him in the arm. The Irving Police Department quickly […]