ACLU Of Texas Demands Information From DPS About Shootings

Affiliate: ACLU of Texas
December 18, 2012 4:27 pm

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of Texas
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Lower Rio Grande Valley Community Deserves Facts About What Happened And Why

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HOUSTON – The ACLU of Texas Tuesday asked Attorney General David Dewhurst to compel the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to comply with open records requests about a DPS shooting of unarmed persons last October 25 that resulted in two fatalities. A sharpshooter fired several shots from a helicopter while in pursuit of a moving vehicle.

To date the DPS has not responded to ACLU of Texas open records requests with pertinent information related to the shooting. According to the DPS, the agency is unable to release the requested information because of confidentiality and law enforcement privilege. Yet some of the information requested and withheld by DPS has been made available through other means to news media and elected officials.

“The public has a constitutional right to information about law enforcement activities. But instead of providing the public with this information and complying with its obligations under the Texas Public Information Act, DPS hides behind supposed exceptions to disclosure that it has waived or that never applied in the first place,” said Adriana Pinon, Senior Staff Attorney for the ACLU of Texas. “DPS’s position goes against the very principles of open government the Public Information Act protects.”

“The lack of transparency after these callous killings is deeply disturbing. The DPS has not established a legal reason why our open records request couldn’t be met and has repeatedly sought to withhold information. We will not stop our pursuit of the facts until the truth is made public. Stonewalling and cover-ups will not be tolerated by community members who want to know why this had to happen,” said Terri Burke, Executive Director for the ACLU of Texas.

Click here for a copy of the letter we sent the Attorney General on December 18, 2012.

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