There have been 177 in-custody deaths involving the Dallas Police Department since the law allowing police agencies to withhold information if a suspect dies in custody went into effect. Dallas PD sent a $1,489.30 cost estimate for all related requests denied under the open records exception. For consistency, KXAN narrowed its request to records involving people who died in custody since 2016. There have been 15 in-custody deaths since 2016. Dallas PD asked for 84 open records request responses related to five different deaths to be withheld under the exception. Many of the records were related to a high-profile case that drew media requests from across the nation.

Johnson fired a semi-automatic rifle toward officers working traffic control for a Black Lives Matters protest in downtown Dallas on July 7, 2016. Two officers were immediately killed and a third was shot and killed soon after. Additional officers engaged in a gun battle with Johnson, killing another officer. Several other officers and civilians were injured as Johnson entered El Centro College and moved to the second story of the building, where he fired out a window and killed another officer. Dallas and SWAT officers pursued Johnson through long hallways until he “waited in a tactical position. A total of five officers died, as “Johnson engaged the officers in several firefights.” He was killed using an explosive device after failed negotiation attempts.

Cause/manner of death: justifiable homicide. He died on July 8, 2016.
Requested documents: Dozens of reporters from across Texas and the U.S. requested video, audio and paper documents related to this incident.
Agency response: The city asked to withhold some of the information that was requested, citing it pertained to a case that concluded in a result other than conviction or deferred adjudication.
Attorney General ruling: There were a total of 76 requests where Dallas PD asked for the Attorney General to withhold information, citing it pertained to a case that concluded in a result other than conviction or deferred adjudication. At least some portion of each of those requests could be withheld, according to information Dallas PD provided KXAN.

Two Dallas Police Department officers responded to a call of a shooting at a home. The occupants said Alton Folmar lived a few houses down and was known to shoot his weapon randomly in the neighborhood. Officers inside the home saw that bullets penetrated the house. When officers confronted Folmar’s home, they heard a disturbance between him and his common-law wife, and also heard a baby in the background. When officers announced themselves, it became quiet. Officers then ordered Folmar to drop his weapon, but he refused so the officer fired his weapon and struck Folmar. He was transported to the hospital, where he died on June 19, 2017.

Cause/manner of death: homicide (includes justifiable), gunshot wound to the torso. He died June 19, 2017.
Requested documents: On July 7, 2017, an attorney requested dash and body camera video.
Agency response: The City of Dallas asked to withhold the information that was requested, citing it pertained to a case that concluded in a result other than conviction or deferred adjudication.
Attorney General ruling: The Attorney General cited a different exemption, but said the agency could withhold some of the requested information.
Portillo Elias
36, male

(Texas Department of Public Safety)

A Dallas Police Department officer stopped a vehicle with a paper license plate tag. Portillo Elias was the rear passenger and jumped out of the vehicle and fled on foot. The officer pursued Elias for a decent bit through an auto garage shop and over a fence until eventually seeing the suspect a few feet away with a handgun. Elias didn’t obey the officer’s verbal commands to drop the weapon and pointed it toward the officer. The officer fired one shot and struck the suspect, who was transported to a hospital, where he died.

Cause/manner of death: Gunshot wound to the chest. He died Aug. 24, 2016.
Requested documents: On Aug. 24, 2016, a reporter requested a copy of all 911 calls, video and radio traffic related to the shooting of Elias. On Sept. 13, 2016, another reporter requested information regarding any officer who fired shots in response to this incident.
Agency response: For both requests, the City of Dallas asked to withhold the information, citing it pertained to a case that concluded in a result other than conviction or deferred adjudication.
Attorney General ruling: In both cases, the Attorney General cited a different exemption, but said the agency could withhold some information.

Dallas Police Department officers conducted a property crime investigation about 6:50 p.m. Oct. 14, 2016, when they observed Zapata shoot a victim in the upper chest with a large caliber handgun. An officer, who was in plain clothes and driving an unmarked vehicle, stopped and identified himself as a police officer. The officer told Zapata to drop the gun and engaged in a gunfight with him. Zapata shot a second victim, when the officer stopped the threat. The officer sustained a gunshot wound to the foot. Zapata and one of his victims died.

Cause/manner of death: justifiable homicide, multiple gunshot wounds. He died Oct. 14, 2016.
Requested documents: A reporter, family member and third individual all sent requests for information related to this incident. The requested materials include the offense report and investigative file.
Agency response: In all three requests, the city asked to withhold some of the information, citing it pertained to a case that concluded in a result other than conviction or deferred adjudication.
Attorney General ruling: The Attorney General cited a different exemption, but said the agency could withhold some of the requested information.

Dallas Police Department officers working in plainclothes were following up on an aggravated robbery and were looking for a stolen vehicle when they drove by the potential suspect’s home and the vehicle wasn’t there. Officers continued to look for the vehicle and began covert surveillance when the suspect, Anthony Garcia, stopped the stolen car next to an undercover officer’s vehicle and began yelling at the officer to roll down his window. The officer fired his duty weapon at Garcia, who was armed with a handgun. Garcia staggered to the back of the stolen vehicle and collapsed on the road. Garcia, confirmed to be a member of the “457 Blood” criminal street gang, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Cause/manner of death: justifiable homicide, multiple gunshot wounds. He died Oct. 19, 2016.
Requested documents: An attorney representing a relative of Garcia and a reporter both requested information regarding Garcia’s death.
Agency response: The City of Dallas asked to withhold the information that was requested, citing it pertained to a case that concluded in a result other than conviction or deferred adjudication.
Attorney General ruling: The Attorney General cited a different exemption, but said the agency could withhold some of the requested information.

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