AUSTIN, Texas – A cellphone mistaken for a gun as an officer tries to serve a warrant that leads to the death of a man as his wife watches. A man suffering a mental health crisis who doesn’t respond properly to an officer’s commands, is seen as a deadly threat and killed. A 12-year-old injured by police gunfire during a pursuit, the incident so shrouded in secrecy that it never makes the news headlines.
Their stories are different, but the same box was checked in each of these officer-involved shootings reported to the state: “Unarmed.”
Now amid an intensifying national debate over race and policing, a veteran journalist is beginning an exclusive year-long investigation that will richly report the police officers, the people and untold details behind 19 officer-involved shootings across Texas.
Eva Ruth Moravec, a former reporter for the San Antonio Express-News and The Associated Press, is digging deep into public records, law enforcement data and interviews for her original series, “Point of Impact.” The project is funded through a grant from the Charles Koch Foundation and based at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Journalism, where Moravec is a Master’s student.
The yearlong series will feature new voices giving extensive – and often unexpected – insight into the cases along with reams of documents obtained through public information requests. Each of the shootings have been reported to the Texas attorney general’s office, which since September 2015 has been required by law to keep a log of officer-involved shootings.
The stories, video interviews and government documents will be posted here.
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