Uvalde city council slams release of Robb Elementary security footage, saying victims' families should've been allowed to see it first

·3 min read
A memorial is seen surrounding the Robb Elementary School sign
A memorial outside Robb Elementary School after the deadly shooting in May.Brandon Bell/Getty Images
  • The Uvalde city council slammed the release of security footage of the Robb Elementary shooting.

  • The council was upset victims' families hadn't seen the video before news outlets published it.

  • Don McLaughlin, Uvalde's mayor, called the release "one of the most chicken things I've ever seen."

The city council in Uvalde, Texas, has condemned a media outlet's release of security footage from Robb Elementary School taken during the shooting there in May, saying the victims' families should've been able to see the footage first.

"The way that video was released today is one of the most chicken things I've ever seen," Mayor Don McLaughlin said at a city-council meeting Tuesday evening.

McLaughlin's concern was with a portion of the footage showing the gunman walking into the school with an assault-style rifle and the subsequent gunshots heard throughout the 77-minute attack.

"Two-thirds of the family or part of their families are in Washington, DC, now, and they're going to have to turn on the TV and see that tonight," McLaughlin said.

The video sparked further uproar after it was released Tuesday by the Austin American-Statesman. The footage showed police officers lingering for over an hour in the hallway outside the classroom where the shooter killed 19 children and two teachers.

Officers were also seen retreating down the hallway after hearing gunfire and holding back from a rescue attempt despite more law-enforcement officers, ballistic shields, and high-caliber rifles arriving on the scene. In one segment, an officer in a ballistic vest was seen stopping to use a hand-sanitizer dispenser.

McLaughlin said news agencies had been told authorities planned to show the footage to the victims' families next Sunday.

"Whether it was released by the DPS or whoever it was released for, in my opinion, it was very unprofessional, which this investigation has been, since day one," he said, referring to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Another council member, Ernest King, added: "The mayor said it was chicken, it was chicken shit. The way you did it. That part of the video was not supposed to be what they're doing on Sunday."

"That was not supposed to be there," he said. "They did that for ratings, and they did that for money."

Two meeting attendees challenged King's criticism. "What about the cops? Were they chicken shit?" one stood up and asked. "We're going to handle that," King answered.

"You said that they did their job. Do you still think they did a good job?" the man continued.

McLaughlin told the attendees they should "let the investigation come through."

"You're out here attacking the media. You should be attacking the cops," the attendee said.

"Yeah, you should be attacking the cops that did nothing," another attendee said.

McLaughlin responded: "I have said from day one that every agency that was in that hallway has to be held accountable for their actions that day. Everyone. No one will be exempt."

In a column published Tuesday, Manny Garcia, the American-Statesman's executive editor, wrote that the outlet released the security footage after "long and thoughtful discussions."

"Our goal is to continue to bring to light what happened at Robb Elementary, which the families and friends of the Uvalde victims have long been asking for," he wrote.

 

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