And in Houston, activists have been ratcheting up pressure on the Police Department to release body camera footage of the killing in April of a mentally ill 27-year-old Latino man, Nicolas Chavez. A harrowing video shot by a resident appears to show officers shooting Mr. Chavez multiple times while he is on his knees.
In some cases, news outlets have played a key role in bringing new details to light. In Austin, protesters have memorialized Javier Ambler, another Texas man, who died in March 2019. Williamson County sheriff’s deputies tried to stop Mr. Ambler for failing to dim his headlights, according to news reports, and then pursued him when he did not stop. They held him down and Tased him while he pleaded that he had congestive heart failure and could not breathe.
A film crew for “Live PD” was with the pursuing officer and filmed the encounter, but later claimed to have destroyed the footage because, the host said, the show had a policy of not showing fatalities. The show has since been canceled.
The Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV, the local ABC affiliate, had been requesting more information on the case for months, but had only recently obtained police documents and video, The American-Statesman reported. The newspaper published an article on June 8 that said Mr. Ambler had cried, “Save me,” before deputies shocked him a final time.
“His death never made headlines,” the article stated.
Street protests, too, have given the family members of those killed by the police a receptive audience for their stories.
On June 6 in Washington, Kenithia Alston, the mother of a young man killed by police officers two years earlier, took a microphone and told a street packed with hundreds of Black Lives Matter protesters about her fruitless struggle to convince the capital’s Metropolitan Police Department to release the full, unedited body camera video of the incident.
“So what I’m asking all of you here today is to tweet, Facebook, Instagram — tell this mayor to release the body cam!” Ms. Alston said.