When 21-year-old Herman Titus died in custody at a Texas county jail, his mother wanted to know why. When she tried to get information from the sheriff’s and county attorney’s offices, officials cited an obscure loophole to the Texas Public Information Act and blocked her request.
An investigation from KXAN found that the same loophole was being used by officials across the state to broadly deny families, journalists and lawyers information about dozens of other in-custody deaths. Their story led to renewed legislative efforts to change the law and get rid of the loophole.
The station also found video and other records that document the interactions with jail staff Titus had in the days leading up to his death. KXAN’s report prompted a new investigation into how the jail responded to Titus’ medical needs.