Uvalde and Uvalde Police have hired a private law firm to fight against being required to release body camera footage and other records

Morrison71

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The City of Uvalde and its police department are working with a private law firm to prevent the release of nearly any record related to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in which 19 children and two teachers died, according to a letter obtained by Motherboard in response to a series of public information requests we made. The public records Uvalde is trying to suppress include body camera footage, photos, 911 calls, emails, text messages, criminal records, and more.
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"The City has not voluntarily released any information to a member of the public," the city's lawyer, Cynthia Trevino, who works for the private law firm Denton Navarro Rocha Bernal & Zech, wrote in a letter to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The city wrote the letter asking Paxton for a determination about what information it is required to release to the public, which is standard practice in Texas. Paxton's office will eventually rule which of the city's arguments have merit and will determine which, if any, public records it is required to release.

The letter makes clear, however, that the city and its police department want to be exempted from releasing a wide variety of records in part because it is being sued, in part because some of the records could include "highly embarrassing information," in part because some of the information is "not of legitimate concern to the public," in part because the information could reveal "methods, techniques, and strategies for preventing and predicting crime," in part because some of the information may cause or may "regard … emotional/mental distress," and in part because its response to the shooting is being investigated by the Texas Rangers, the FBI, and the Uvalde County District Attorney.
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The city says that it has received 148 separate public records requests (including several from Motherboard), and has lumped all of them together, making a broad legal argument as to why it should not be required to respond to many of them. Earlier this week, Motherboard reported on a similar letter sent to Paxton by the Texas Department of Public Safety, which wanted to suppress body-camera footage because it could expose "weaknesses" in police response to crimes that criminals could exploit. (The main seeming weakness in the Uvalde response was that police, in violation of standard policy and protocol, refused to risk their lives to protect children.)

For example, the city and its police department argue that it should be exempted from releasing "police officer training guides, policy and procedure manuals, shift change schedules, security details, and blueprints of secured facilities," because these could be used to decipher "methods, techniques, and strategies for preventing and predicting crime." The Uvalde Police Department and Texas Department of Public Safety have been pilloried by the press and the public for standing in the hallway while a gunman killed children—against standard protocol—and for preventing parents from entering the building to save their children. The letter also argues that the department should be exempted from releasing body camera footage simply because it could be "information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision."
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"They claim that the compilation of individuals' criminal history is highly embarrassing information, which is a strange cover. The embarrassing information is the inept police response," Christopher Schneider, a professor of sociology at Brandon University who studies police body cameras and the disclosure of footage from them, told Motherboard, noting that suspects' criminal histories are released by the police all the time without anyone having requested them. "They have no problem using information like that against individuals of the public. The information disclosure needs to go both ways, if that's the case." Disciplinary or criminal records for members of the police, for example, would be obviously relevant public information in a case in which the police response has been highly criticized. "
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TheCainer

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Slappy Pappy

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An hour's worth of cops arguing against and begging to go in while gun shots and screams are heard coming from inside the classroom. Embarrassing and distressing, indeed.
 

Joes Place

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Emotional distress like the families of the decreased children, or emotional distress like the children that survived seeing their dead classmates?

Those police are about to find out how embarrassed the rest of us are that they wear a badge.
Emotional distress like police who were too afraid of an AR to do their damned jobs.
 
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sober_teacher

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Odds that the cops killed one of the kids accidentally and they are trying to cover it up?

Thanks for providing the nightmare scenario. Would be all this tragedy was missing.

The cops can’t seriously think they can keep the footage under wraps can they?
 

Joes Place

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Thanks for providing the nightmare scenario. Would be all this tragedy was missing.

The cops can’t seriously think they can keep the footage under wraps can they?

Well...it's not like public tax money is paying their salaries and paid for the body-cam infrastructure or anything.... 👀
 

Jim Grizzly

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Well...it's not like public tax money is paying their salaries and paid for the body-cam infrastructure or anything.... 👀
Soi ds like they almost certainly hit/killed a kid. They went out of their way to pin it on a teacher, then insisted the shooter had a handgun, then said no... In fact it was a rifle.

I'm not as smart as most on this board but that's fishy as hell and clearly this PD is being run as a criminal enterprise
 
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Joes Place

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Soi ds like they almost certainly hit/killed a kid. They went out of their way to pin it on a teacher, then insisted the shooter had a handgun, then said no... In fact it was a rifle.

I'm not as smart as most on this board but that's fishy as hell and clearly this PD is being run as a criminal enterprise

If an officer (allegedly trained on shooting courses to distinguish friend from foe in practice/training) ended up accidentally shooting an unarmed kid, then what are we to make of the NRA (and GOP) narrative to "arm all the teachers", who will have no such training when put into a crisis situation?
 
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Jim Grizzly

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If an officer (allegedly trained on shooting courses to distinguish friend from foe in practice/training) ended up accidentally shooting an unarmed kid, then what are we to make of the NRA (and GOP) narrative to "arm all the teachers", who will have no such training when put into a crisis situation?
It's crazy. I don't know of a single serious person who thinks that's a valid solution. Teachers can barely disco kids, now they get to be the executioner. Gun nuts, MAGA et al are a deranged death cult. But that's been obvious for years
 

sober_teacher

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Soi ds like they almost certainly hit/killed a kid. They went out of their way to pin it on a teacher, then insisted the shooter had a handgun, then said no... In fact it was a rifle.

I'm not as smart as most on this board but that's fishy as hell and clearly this PD is being run as a criminal enterprise

Sadly, when cops screw up, historically they have a tendency to circle together-the so-called “blue wall”. So likely that’s what’s going on here versus criminal activity.

But this is the sort of thing that conservatives don’t seem to realize fuels the distrust of police that eventually leads to extreme positions like “defund the police”. More often than not, I truly do believe cops do the best they can, but they’re human just like the rest of us…but when they screw up, civilians often get caught in the crossfire, sometimes literally. When they conduct investigations after these incidents, far to often they share as little as possible of the investigation, often creating the impression of coverup or whitewashing events so their people face the minimal possible consequences. This then creates further distrust, and feeds into a vicious cycle that eventually leads to stuff like the Floyd protests which devolved into riots.
 

St. Louis Hawk

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The trickle of contrary info out of the PD here continues.

Now the police say the door to the classroom was unlocked - and could not have been locked - but …. they never tried to open it.

WTF?


 

tumorboy

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The trickle of contrary info out of the PD here continues.

Now the police say the door to the classroom was unlocked - and could not have been locked - but …. they never tried to open it.

WTF?



That must not of been the door the School chief was stationed at. Or else he lied. Was the story about getting the keys completely full of shit?
 
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tumorboy

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If an officer (allegedly trained on shooting courses to distinguish friend from foe in practice/training) ended up accidentally shooting an unarmed kid, then what are we to make of the NRA (and GOP) narrative to "arm all the teachers", who will have no such training when put into a crisis situation?
If the LEO'S accidentally tagged a kid. It's understandable. Crazy situation.
 

St. Louis Hawk

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That must not of been the door the School chief was stationed at. Or else he lied. Was the story about getting the keys completely full of shit?

Can’t tell with the multiple stories circulating. Even the cops are contradicting themselves.
 

binsfeldcyhawk2

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This isn't looking very good at all for the law enforcement response. (Capt obvious)

Horrible response, stonewalling.....pretty mind blowing from what we know.
 
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Herky T Hawk

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One of the many things that blows my mind with this is the chief saying he wasn't in charge. And all of the officers saying they didn't know who was in charge.

Public entities have followed the Incident Command System almost exclusively for decades. The first leader on the scene is the person in charge of the incident until they willingly give up command to another party when the incident gets out of their abilities. As the ranking officer first on the scene, the chief was in charge and never relinquished command through the incident. So he was always in charge, even if he didn't necessarily want to be as he never handed over command.


The coverup is always worse than the crime. If they just admitted they messed up and made major mistakes, the public could move past this and figure out how to make things better in the future. Instead they are pretending like they did everything right and some careers are going to be destroyed once the truth comes out. The hallway video has already been secretly shared with a news organization and they are reporting honestly on what is visible and what isn't visible.
 
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ICHawk-I

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If an officer (allegedly trained on shooting courses to distinguish friend from foe in practice/training) ended up accidentally shooting an unarmed kid, then what are we to make of the NRA (and GOP) narrative to "arm all the teachers", who will have no such training when put into a crisis situation?

Arm the teachers and then do what? The freaking police stood outside for over an hour. A police force trained in these situations and with equal firepower failed to do their job, but they want you to believe the English teacher is going to grab their pistol and go running out to hunt down a school shooter? Do their job postings now say "Must be willing to shoot armed intruders who might be a kid"?

This narrative from the NRA and GOP is insane. Why limit it to schools? Will not arm baristas and Walmart greeters too?
 

Old_wrestling_fan

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One of the many things that blows my mind with this is the chief saying he wasn't in charge. And all of the officers saying they didn't know who was in charge.

Public entities have followed the Incident Command System almost exclusively for decades. The first leader on the scene is the person in charge of the incident until they willingly give up command to another party when the incident gets out of their abilities. As the ranking officer first on the scene, the chief was in charge and never relinquished command through the incident. So he was always in charge, even if he didn't necessarily want to be as he never handed over command.


The coverup is always worse than the crime. If they just admitted they messed up and made major mistakes, the public could move past this and figure out how to make things better in the future. Instead they are pretending like they did everything right and some careers are going to be destroyed once the truth comes out. The hallway video has already been secretly shared with a news organization and they are reporting honestly on what is visible and what isn't visible.
The shifting story as to what happened is very frustrating and needs to be straightened out ASAP. There needs to be independent oversight on this investigation. How does Arredondo still have a job there?
 
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Herky T Hawk

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Arm the teachers and then do what? The freaking police stood outside for over an hour. A police force trained in these situations and with equal firepower failed to do their job, but they want you to believe the English teacher is going to grab their pistol and go running out to hunt down a school shooter? Do their job postings now say "Must be willing to shoot armed intruders who might be a kid"?

This narrative from the NRA and GOP is insane. Why limit it to schools? Will not arm baristas and Walmart greeters too?
It wasn't just equal firepower, it was superior firepower. The shooter had one gun on him at that point. The police had a handgun with every officer from the beginning and stood down. Plus eventually had multiple rifles and ballistic shields and yet still stood down for half an hour once they were armed to that level.
 
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tumorboy

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The shifting story as to what happened is very frustrating and needs to be straightened out ASAP. There needs to be independent oversight on this investigation. How does Arredondo still have a job there?
He also just got sworn into City Council. He's friends with the city officials. They are covering for him.
It's really amazing that interview he gave to the newspaper was advised by a lawyer.
 
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ICHawk-I

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It wasn't just equal firepower, it was superior firepower. The shooter had one gun on him at that point. The police had a handgun with every officer from the beginning and stood down. Plus eventually had multiple rifles and ballistic shields and yet still stood down for half an hour once they were armed to that level.

Right, yet there is some thought that an armed teacher is going to rush in when these guys dont? Its absurd.
 

Old_wrestling_fan

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He also just got sworn into City Council. He's friends with the city officials. They are covering for him.
It's really amazing that interview he gave to the newspaper was advised by a lawyer.
I am not sure which agency has authority...but the investigation needs to be ABOVE any local influence. FBI? DOJ? I don't know...but not the "home boys".
 

Old_wrestling_fan

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At best they appear to be incompetent liars. At worst incompetent lying cowards.
Just a FWIW, I still do not fault the police that were not in charge there, they were subject to orders/authority and we now see that multiple of them were questioning what was going on, or not going on. At least some of them were prepared to storm the shooter fairly early on...but were under restraint.

The fault, to me, is with the command...because it wasn't just insufficient, it was incredibly poor AND the mixed messages and shifting accounts that are apparent at this time are in association with the command. Arredondo should be out of a job, at a minimum, unless there is some very compelling information that contradicts what is out there now.
 

tumorboy

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Just a FWIW, I still do not fault the police that were not in charge there, they were subject to orders/authority and we now see that multiple of them were questioning what was going on, or not going on. At least some of them were prepared to storm the shooter fairly early on...but were under restraint.

The fault, to me, is with the command...because it wasn't just insufficient, it was incredibly poor AND the mixed messages and shifting accounts that are apparent at this time are in association with the command. Arredondo should be out of a job, at a minimum, unless there is some very compelling information that contradicts what is out there now.
The lower level guys aren't at fault. But the more experienced LEO's should have relied on their training sooner. Pretty sure the 4 who breached the room weren't under his command in any way. Sometimes doing the right thing means going counter of the boss. This certainly falls under extraordinary circumstances.