UVALDE, TX – New reports have been presented that the City of Uvalde has hired a private law firm to block the release of video and audio from the May 24 Robb Elementary mass shooting where 19 children and two adults were murdered by 18-year-old Salvador Ramos.
The records that the city is attempting to block include police body cam footage, photos, 911 calls, emails, text messages, criminal records, and “additional materials,” said the Post Millennial.
According to a letter obtained by Vice, the reasoning for the attempted block is because the images and messages could contain “highly embarrassing information.” Further, the letter states, they could include items that could cause “emotional/mental distress,” and that they are “not of legitimate concern to the public.”
Police also argue that some of the information should not be released because the incident is under investigation, plus some info would reveal “methods, techniques, and strategies for preventing and predicting crime .”
So far since the shooting, the city has received 148 separate public records requests, which have all gone without response thus far. They’re being lumped into one request for the purposes of not having to respond to them.
The letter was written to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton by the city’s lawyer, Cynthia Trevino, who is with the private law firm Denton Navarro Rocha Bernal & Zech. “The City has not voluntarily released any information to a member of the public,” she said. The letter asks Paxton to clarify what information they’re required to release.
The Texas Department of Public Safety sent a similar letter to AG Paxton last week, saying they didn’t want body cam footage to be released to the public, apparently because it could expose “weaknesses” that could be used by criminals. The department said they should not be required to release “police officer training guides, policy and procedure manuals, shift change schedules, security details, and blueprints of secured facilities,” lest criminals use the information to ascertain “methods, techniques, and strategies for preventing and predicting crime.”
Paxton will be sifting through information and footage to see what should be made available, according to reports.
This comes the same day that journalists, parents, and a chaplain were kicked out of the City Council meeting in Uvalde who were present to hear testimony told to Texas lawmakers by Uvalde Police, a school district officer, and a member of the Department of Public Safety.
This information was apparently not to be made public, as the attendees mentioned above were kicked out by the fire marshal.
Further, a photo was released Monday, the first from inside the school during the shooting incident, that showed police had heavy firepower (rifles) and ballistic shields down the hall from the school much sooner (within 19 minutes) than previously stated. There were, apparently, 11 officers on scene within three minutes, despite Chief Pete Arredondo saying that they had “only pistols” on scene.