Police shootings accountability bill signed into law

The State of Texas will soon be able to fine law enforcement agencies that don’t properly report officer-involved shootings. On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbot gave final approval to changes to the 2015 law that requires agencies to fill out a one-page form and file it with the Attorney General’s office within 30 days of a shooting. The bill, by Rep. Eric Johnson (D-Dallas), was one of […]

When running from police becomes deadly

  BECKVILLE, Texas –Calin Devonte Roquemore, a 23-year-old African American from East Texas, feared police and did not stop when a white trooper from the Texas Department of Public Safety attempted to pull him over for speeding on Texas 149, a two-lane country road, two hours after sunset on Feb. 13, 2016. Instead Roquemore sped through a maze of streets to a trailer park, jumped out […]

House advances bill to enforce shooting report requirement

UPDATE: At 10:50 a.m. on Friday, HB 245 was finally passed out of the Texas House on a 112-21 vote. There was no discussion. The legislation now faces approval by the Senate, and then Gov. Greg Abbott, in order to become law. ORIGINAL POST: Hours after it initially lost in the Texas House by one vote, lawmakers reconsidered and preliminarily passed legislation that would enforce the state’s […]

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 […]

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 […]