Jun 21, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Uvalde mayor accuses Texas Department of Public Safety of "false leaks"

Photo of Don McLaughlin speaking into a microphone

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin speaks during a press conference about the mass shooting on May 27, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. Photo: Michael M. Santiago via Getty Images

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin accused the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) of releasing contradictory information, perpetrating "false leaks" and having its own agenda in the aftermath of the Robb Elementary School shooting.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have changed the narrative about what happened multiple times since a gunman shot and killed 21 people. McLaughlin's press conference, which comes after DPS Director Steven McCraw called the Uvalde police response "an abject failure," only heightens the breakdown in relations among the law enforcement agencies that responded that day.

What he's saying: DPS released information that was "completely different" from the information McLaughlin was given in briefings, the mayor said.

  • McLaughlin claimed that McCraw left out key information in public comments, such as how many of his own troopers and rangers were part of the response. McCraw "has an agenda, and it's not to present a full report of what happened," he alleged.
  • The mayor said four agencies have control of bodycam footage. "They are the Uvalde district attorney, the DPS, the FBI and the state legislature and someone has chosen to release bits and pieces of body cams, surveillance videos of their choosing ... to create chaos in our community and keep the whole truth from coming out," he claimed.

Meanwhile, McCraw continues to "lie, leak or misstate information," McLaughlin alleged.

  • McLaughlin emphasized that eight law enforcement agencies were on location after the shooting broke out. As the press conference grew heated, he questioned why the DPS has not received scrutiny for its officers' actions that day.
  • "If we make mistakes, we have to own up to it ... And we will and every other agency there is going to have to be in the same deal."
  • McLaughlin also claimed that he had little power in the current proceedings. "Right now, I have to answer to a bunch of bureaucrats up there that haven't been doing their damn job, but that's why we're calling them out today."

What to watch: McLaughlin said his understanding following a discussion with the superintendent was that the school will be demolished.

  • "You can never ask a child to go back or teacher to go back in that school ever," he added.

Worth noting: McLaughlin said suing the DPS is not off the table.

  • Representatives for the Texas DPS did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with McLaughlin's comments on the school being demolished.

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