About Us

Texas Justice Initiative is a nonprofit organization that collects, analyzes, publishes and provides oversight for criminal justice data throughout Texas.

After Michael Brown was shot and killed by former officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, Americans suddenly realized the dismal state of data-collection on officer-involved shootings.

A scramble ensued to track how often members of the 18,000 law enforcement agencies in America shot civilians – a daunting, complex and fragmented task. Departments vary vastly in their approaches to collecting data on their interactions with the public, including their uses of force, rendering comparisons and analysis impossible. Even when departments do collect data, it’s often difficult for the public to access, parse and analyze for themselves.

But in Texas, things are different.

In 2015, lawmakers passed legislation that required agencies to report shootings to the state. Paired with a decades-old law that mandates deaths by officer-involved shootings and in any other type of law enforcement custody are reported to the state, the laws set Texas apart from most other states in requiring such reporting by police.

Amanda Woog and Eva Ruth Moravec had each worked with one of the data sets independently but decided to join forces in 2016, when they co-founded the Texas Justice Initiative to build a portal for our criminal justice data. Through the portal and other tools, TJI makes the data available to the public in a user-friendly way. TJI also analyzes the data and explains our findings, and attempts to provide oversight by helping to ensure the data sets are complete and accurate.

We believe that with quality information, we can better understand each other, craft good policy, improve governance, ensure accountability and identify creative solutions. TJI hopes to promote informed discussion on controversial topics of grave importance and impact research that leads to police, detention, and sentencing policy reform. We hope our work will also encourage replication in other states, both by bringing attention to the Texas policies and how they do or do not work, and by creating a platform that can be duplicated using data from other states.

Who We Are

Eva Ruth Moravec

Eva Ruth Moravec

Executive Director and co-founder Eva Ruth Moravec is a 2018 John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim Criminal Justice Reporting fellow, a freelance reporter covering criminal justice in Texas and throughout the U.S. While in a data journalism class for her Master’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin, Eva Ruth started a database of officer-involved shootings in Texas. She then explored cases in her database through “Point of Impact,” an investigative journalism series that ran in three Texas daily newspapers. She has covered criminal justice in Texas for a decade, including stints at the San Antonio Express-News and The Associated Press. Find her on Twitter here.

Bergan Casey

Bergan Casey

Marketing consultant Bergan Casey provides communications support and strategic direction for nonprofits. Before becoming a consultant, Bergan worked for several nonprofits and PR agencies in Washington, D.C., London and Austin. Bergan has also served as the Executive Director of The Headliners Foundation and Women’s Storybook Project of Texas (interim). Find her on LinkedIn here.

Andrea Torres

Andrea Torres

TJI Coach Andrea Torres has nearly 20 years of experience in Austin’s local government and nonprofit sectors where she assembled a diverse set of skills in the areas of fundraising, program management, and program evaluation. She particularly enjoys working with organizational leaders to help them develop the necessary skills to move their organizations forward.

Volunteer Team

James Babyak

James Babyak

Data Scientist
Anastasia Efremova

Anastasia Efremova

Data Scientist
Nick Holden

Nick Holden

Software Engineer
Dashiel Lopez Mendez

Dashiel Lopez Mendez

Infrastructure Engineer
Daniel Olivares

Daniel Olivares

Senior Software Engineer
Athula Pudhiyidath

Athula Pudhiyidath

Data Scientist
Michael Reed

Michael Reed

Software Engineer
Hongsup Shin

Hongsup Shin

Data Scientist
Jen Udan

Jen Udan

Front-End Developer
Everett Wetchler

Everett Wetchler

Data Scientist
Jason Zinn

Jason Zinn

Front-End Developer

Alumni

Simi Damani

Simi Damani

Front-End Developer
Jonathan Pascoe

Jonathan Pascoe

Geographic Information Systems Professional
Shea Scott

Shea Scott

Senior Front-End Developer
Kaitlyn Wallace

Kaitlyn Wallace

Data Visualizations Fellow
Raymond Weyandt

Raymond Weyandt

Marketing and Communications Specialist
Aiden Yang

Aiden Yang

Data Scientist

Governance

The Texas Justice Initiative is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization under the governance of a board of directors: William Kelly, Karen Kennard, Meme Styles and Bryan Whoolery. The board meets quarterly and can be reached via email to: directors@texasjusticeinitiative.org

Meme Styles

Meme Styles

Meme Styles is the visionary behind MEASURE, a nonprofit she founded in 2015 to build trust, increase transparency and measure progress in underserved communities. As “chief volunteer,” Meme works with the board, leadership team and the community to further the organization’s mission. In 2018, MEASURE successfully advocated in Austin for evidence-based policing as a way to increase collaboration and transparency. Meme, a graduate of American Military University, holds a certificate in Performance Measurement from George Washington University College of Professional Studies. By day, Meme works for the State of Texas as a Privacy Officer, safeguarding data.

William Kelly

William Kelly

William R. Kelly is a Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Criminology and Criminal Justice Research at the University of Texas at Austin. A professor and researcher in criminology and criminal justice for over 25 years, he has considerable experience developing, implementing and evaluating a wide variety of criminal justice programs and policies. He has provided expert advice and counsel on big picture justice policy issues as well as the design, implementation, operation and evaluation of very specific justice programs and initiatives, and written four books on reforming the American criminal justice system.

Karen Kennard

Karen Kennard

Karen M. Kennard is a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig LLP. Karen has practiced law for over 25 years, including 11 as the City Attorney for the City of Austin. There, Karen was instrumental in leading several high-profile initiatives. She started her law career as the Assistant City Attorney for the City of Midland and later worked at the Texas Municipal League, where she provided legal and legislative services to elected and appointed city officials throughout Texas. A graduate of the Texas Tech University School of Law, she is a member of the Austin Chapter of the Links Inc and the Beta Psi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc.

Bryan Whoolery

Bryan Whoolery

Bryan Whoolery is a career police officer with more than 29 years of criminal justice and security-related experience. After spending 28 years at the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, Bryan was selected to become the security director for the Texas Bullion Depository in 2017. As a law enforcement officer, Bryan is an expert at conducting SWAT operations, investigations, juvenile justice, managing critical incidents, executive protection and training. He also teaches as an adjunct instructor for the Travis County Sheriff’s Office and is a member of the Justice Academy’s Research Team for the Hostage Survivability Model.

Our Donors

TJI is grateful for the financial support we’ve received so far. Many thanks to the individuals who’ve donated to TJI directly and through Facebook, and to our grantors: the Awesome Foundation, CredCon, the John and Florence Newman Foundation, and the Charles Koch Institute.

Awesome Foundation Austin
Charles Koch Institute
Credcon
John & Florence Newman Foundation