Jun 22, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Texas state senator sues Texas DPS for Uvalde shooting public records

Photo of a sign in the shape of Texas that says "Uvalde strong," surrounded by flowers
A memorial in front of Robb Elementary School on June 17 in Uvalde, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell via Getty Images

Texas state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D) sued the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) on Wednesday in a bid to access public records related to the Uvalde school shooting that killed 21 people, including 19 children.

Why it matters: The public is still grappling with failures in the police response to the shooting after law enforcement retracted several statements and revealed that 19 officers waited outside the classroom for almost an hour as the gunman locked himself inside with children who made multiple 911 calls.

What they're saying: Gutierrez says DPS has unlawfully denied his open records requests and emphasized that the Uvalde community deserves transparency and accountability over what happened.

  • "Weeks have come and gone, and yet families who lost their children have not been told by their government the basic information about who was on site as their children bled, what tools were at their disposal to stop the gunman, and exactly why they decided to wait instead of act," he said in a statement.
  • "From the very start, the response to this awful gun tragedy has been full of misinformation and outright lies from our government," he noted.
  • "On the first day following the shooting, Gov. [Greg] Abbott told us that without law enforcement’s quick response, this situation would have been worse. That was one of several political narratives that turned out not to be accurate information. Diligent reporting in the days since has revealed more of the truth.
  • "By not taking common-sense gun safety measures to prevent such atrocities as this, the state of Texas failed 21 Texans, their families and countless others touched by the tragedy," he added. "We must not fail these families again with cover-ups and misinformation."

Worth noting: Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin has also accused DPS of perpetrating "false leaks" and giving out contradictory information about what happened that day.

The big picture: DPS Director Steven McCraw testified at a state Senate hearing Tuesday that the Uvalde police response was "an abject failure."

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