Redus family attorney says proposed law validates civil claim

Law requires private university police departments to follow Texas Public Information Act

SAN ANTONIO – If legislation filed by Texas Sen. John Whitmire, chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, becomes law, private university police officers would fall under the same scrutiny as other law enforcement agencies.

That would include compliance with the Texas Public Information Act.

In December of 2013, University of the Incarnate Word student Cameron Redus was shot and killed by campus police officer Chris Carter during a scuffle that followed an off campus traffic stop. The university refused to release an audio recording of the incident.

If Whitmire's bill becomes law, any member of the public could see reports and records from a private university police department. In the Redus case, that would include the audio recording of the arrest and shooting.

"UIW follows Texas law, and would abide by any law requiring our police department to comply with public information laws," a spokesperson for UIW replied in response to questions about Whitmire's proposed legislation.

According to attorney Jorge Herrera, who represents the Redus family in a civil wrongful death suit filed against the university, the bill's only impact would be that it validates their position regarding that lawsuit.

"This bill, filed by Sen. Whitmire, is a clear example that the university and the other private institutions are not governmental unit," Herrera said.   

The Redus case, including the audio recording, is being reviewed by the Bexar County district attorney. The case is expected to be presented to a grand jury later this month.

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