Last year, the Texas Legislature mandated that police departments report all police shootings to the Attorney General, whether or not the victim dies. But for years, police, jails and prisons in Texas already had to report deaths in custody, though scarce few people were aware of it and the information wasn't widely available. The AG publishes a master list of names, but nearly all of the voluminous detail until now was kept offline, available only to those who knew enough to file an open records request. Since just a few reporters even knew the database existed (besides Grits, Brandi Grissom of the Dallas News, Tanya Eiserer at WFAA, and John Tedesco at the SA Express-News are the only writers I've seen use it in years), most of the detail here is being revealed publicly for the first time, including on cases from up to a decade ago.
See the press release announcing the new site launch and a 22-page report detailing her initial findings from eleven years of data. And congratulations, Amanda! This has long been needed; it was a tremendous accomplishment. (MORE: See coverage from The Atlantic and the Texas Tribune.)
To give a better sense of the project, Grits sat down last week with Ms. Woog for a recorded interview. You can listen to it below, or find a transcript of our conversation below the jump.