The city of Uvalde and the police department reportedly hired a private law firm in Texas to block the release of any public records related to the deadly mass shooting because some of them contain “highly embarrassing information.”
The Uvalde police department has been under scrutiny for failing to respond quickly and accurately to tragic events that left 21 dead.
Earlier this morning, The Gateway Pundit reported that the police in Uvalde, Texas, never attempted to open a classroom door while a gunman spent 77 minutes killing 19 children and two teachers who were inside.
A law enforcement source told the San Antonio Express-News that surveillance footage from Robb Elementary School shows that police made no effort to open the door. The report further states there is reason to believe it may have been unlocked.
The surveillance footage from the May 24 massacre has not been publicly released but has been seen by the Express-News.
This is one of the reasons why Uvalde city officials are trying to prevent the release of public records including body camera footage, photos, 911 calls, emails, text messages, criminal records, and more, Vice reported.
Under the Texas Public Information Act, “Dead Suspect Loophole,” which was created in the 1990s, “will deny family members and the public the details about cases when someone charged with a crime dies while in custody.”
In a letter addressed to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Cynthia Trevino of Denton Navarro Rocha Bernal & Zech law firm seek an exemption to block the release of public records concerning the deadly Texas massacre.
The city’s lawyer Cynthia Trevino argues that Uvalde, which has received 148 separate public records requests, should not have to release them because the city is being sued and investigated for the police department’s response to the shooting, and because some records could include “highly embarrassing information.”
- “The City has not voluntarily released any information to a member of the public,” Trevino said in the letter.
- The lawyer also claims some of that information is “not of legitimate concern to the public” and could reveal “methods, techniques, and strategies for preventing and predicting crime.”
- Releasing the records could cause “emotional/mental distress” and poses a “substantial threat of physical harm … for certain employees or city officials,” the letter states.
Yes, but: The letter doesn’t note who the records are about, how their release would be “highly embarrassing” and why they would not be “of legitimate concern to the public.”
Last month, the Uvalde Police Department and Uvalde School District announced that they were no longer cooperating with the Texas Department of Public Safety’s investigation regarding the school massacre.
“According to sources, the decision to stop cooperating occurred soon after the director of DPS, Col. Steven McCraw, held a news conference Friday during which he said the delayed police entry into the classroom was “the wrong decision” and contrary to protocol,” ABC News reported.
And earlier this month, Uvalde’s city mayor has sworn in the Uvalde school district police chief as a city council member despite accusations that he has stopped cooperating with a state investigation.
Pete Arredondo was scrutinized for handling the May 24 police response to the Robb Elementary mass shooting.
Mayor McLaughlin defended Arredondo’s seat on the city council. McLaughlin also gave no credence to the investigation started by the Department of Justice into the events of last week’s shooting and the management by local police officials.
“There is nothing in the City Charter, Election Code, or Texas Constitution that prohibits him from taking the oath of office,” McLaughlin said.