Pubdate: Thu, 05 Dec 2013
Source: San Antonio Express-News (TX)
Copyright: 2013 San Antonio Express-News
Author: Guillermo Contreras
Bookmark: (Drug Raids)


SAN ANTONIO - What happened during a San Antonio police raid at a
Babcock Road apartment last spring in which two puppies were allegedly
shot and killed?

Only police know, and they refuse to release details, according to a
lawsuit filed Wednesday against the city and its police chief, William

Patricia Taylor, a member of the grass-roots organization Texas Moms
United to End the War on Drugs, filed a formal public records request
for the police report a little more than a week after the May 10
incident. She received no answer, the lawsuit said, so she followed up
June 21.

The Police Department did not acknowledge or respond to the request,
in violation of the Texas Public Information Act, according to the
lawsuit, filed by the Texas Civil Rights Project in Austin.

"They just blew her off," said Brian McGiverin, Texas Civil Rights
Project attorney.

"We're really concerned about people getting hurt and animals getting
killed in these raids," Taylor said Wednesday. "It seems these
incidents are happening more and more."

Taylor does not live at the apartment and does not know who does. She
said she knew from a news report that the pet dogs shot and killed
were 10 months old and 3 months old and that no drugs were found. The
breed was not identified, and it was not immediately clear if anyone
was charged in the raid.

The lawsuit, filed in state court in Bexar County, alleges that the
Police Department broke the law when it withheld records of the
shooting. The lawsuit seeks a judicial order instructing the
department to release the report and seeks a finding that the
department refrain from a policy or practice of withholding such
public information.

"Transparency is essential to public accountability. And Texans know
how to keep government accountable - our laws entitle the public 'to
complete information about the affairs of government,'" said
McGiverin. "You can't run a democracy any other way."

The department, citing the pending lawsuit, directed inquiries to City
Attorney Michael Bernard, who said he was not familiar with the
particular request and had not seen the litigation. He said the city
gets thousands of public information requests a year.

"We try to be diligent in responding to them and fulfilling all of our
legal obligations," said Bernard, whose last day as city attorney is
Thursday. "If something fell through the cracks, and I'm not saying
that it did because I don't know anything about this particular
response, but if it did, it was unintentional."
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