In Texas, Police Discipline After Shootings Extremely Rare

Sep 7, 2016

Randy and Stephanie Allen hold up a framed photo of their granddaughter and their son Michael, who was shot by a Garland police officer.
Credit Alexa Ura / Texas Tribune

When it comes to police shootings, it’s rare for an officer in Texas to be disciplined or charged with a crime.

As The Texas Tribune reports, almost 900 officers were involved in police shootings in Texas’ largest cities between 2010 and 2015. Of those, only seven faced criminal charges for pulling the trigger. And not a single one has been convicted of a crime.

The use of lethal force by officers has been in the national spotlight since a spate of shootings in places like Missouri, Minnesota and South Carolina. Cops have themselves become targets of violence recently in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

But the numbers in Texas show how truly rare it is for police to face criminal prosecution. It requires overwhelming evidence for the law to successfully challenge an officer's decision to use his gun. Still, there has been accountability on some level. Of the 881 officers involved in cases examined by the Tribune, at least 10 were fired for their actions and another 14 were suspended.