The city of Uvalde, Texas, and its police department are trying to block the release of public records from last month’s deadly attack on an elementary school where law enforcement was accused of responding too slowly.
According to a letter obtained by Vice News from an attorney representing Uvalde, local authorities fear that some of the material could have “highly embarrassing information” related to the police response. The letter was written by a private law firm to lobby the state’s attorney general, who will rule which records ultimately will be released to the public.
The attorneys for Uvalde argue that body-camera footage, 911 calls, emails, and texts related to the shooting should not be released, arguing that some of the information is “not of legitimate concern to the public” and that releasing materials such as police training guides and policy manuals could reveal “methods, techniques, and strategies for preventing and predicting crime.” They also argue that many records should remain private as the shooting is investigated by state and federal authorities.
The attempt to slow the release of potentially “embarrassing” information is unlikely to help the Uvalde police in their public-image battle. Parents and the public nationwide were outraged over the police response during the attack, in which the chief of the Uvalde school district’s police force showed up to the scene without a radio and ordered officers not to engage the shooter, which did not follow protocol. In the wake of the attack, trust in local authorities sunk further, as they contradicted themselves and corrected the timeline on several occasions. At one point, the Uvalde police department and school-district police reportedly stopped cooperating with the state investigation into the shooting.