Better East Texas: Requests for video denied despite Open Records Act

Better East Texas: Requests for video denied despite Open Records Act

Recently, our news team reported on a tragic story involving a head-on collision on Interstate 20 where a drunk driver, who was driving on the wrong side of the interstate, collided and killed another driver.

What made the story even more disturbing is that a Department of Public Safety trooper had pulled the drunk driver over about a half hour before the collision and released him because of a language barrier. Both the initial traffic stop and the aftermath of the collision were recorded on dash cams in the trooper's car.

The DPS honored a request by the family of the innocent victim of the collision and released the video recorded after the collision. The videotape reveals a trooper discussing the earlier stop of the drunk driver and the decision to let him go. In Texas, there is a state law called the Texas Open Records Act where the public can request a copy of paperwork, videos and other items collected by law enforcement. On behalf of your rights as Texans, KLTV requested the video of the first stop of the drunk driver. These requests are routinely honored but, in this case, it was denied.

You have a right to see this video, the family of the victim has a right to see this video, but the Department of Public Safety has decided not to honor that right and give the copy. In fact, we made the request twice to the DPS and now have made the same request with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to release the video and uphold the laws of our state. We will continue to pursue this matter until the video is released. It is your right and it is the right of the innocent victims in this case.

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