Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Great reporting on police shooting issues

Here's an update from Eva Ruth Moravec on the latest from her Point of Impact series reporting on Texas police shootings of unarmed people:
My latest shooting profile hit Texas newsstands and websites this past week and tells the story of the February 2016 fatal shooting of Calin Devonte Roquemore in Beckville. This story required an immense amount of reporting, and I hope that on-the-ground digging is apparent to readers. Read the story on the series' website (ed. note: scroll down for underlying documents from the case), in the Houston Chronicle, Austin American-Statesman or the San Antonio Express-News. And on Point of Impact's YouTube channel, you'll find the dashcam footage and audio of the February incident, and footage from a more peaceful interaction between Roquemore and the same officer.

At the Capitol - and now heading to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk - is Democratic Rep. Eric Johnson's HB 245, which would fine law enforcement agencies that don't properly report their shootings to the Attorney General's office as state law requires. Earlier this year, I reported that a dozen fatal shootings of and by Texas officers weren't properly reported to the state. If the data collected and disseminated by the state is incomplete, experts cannot depend on it for accurate analysis.

The proposal would impose $1,000-per-day fines on agencies whose reports are not filed within one week of receiving a warning from the AG's office. It removes the requirement for law enforcement to post their reports on their own websites and delays the deadline by 30 days that the AG's office must submit an annual report on all reported shootings. The bill actually died in the House, but was resurrected and passed at the last minute. The Senate passed it after omitting a data portal with an interactive dashboard that was estimated to cost $1.15 million through 2019. Now that it's passed both chambers, the bill now awaits Gov. Greg Abbott's signature.

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