Uvalde’s district attorney has joined the Texas Department of Public Safety in fighting the release of public records related to last year’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, arguing that all of the families who lost children want them withheld. But attorneys for a vast majority of the families are refuting that claim, saying that the information should be made public.
“These Uvalde families fundamentally deserve the opportunity to gain the most complete factual picture possible of what happened to their children,” wrote Brent Ryan Walker, one of the attorneys who represents the parents of 16 deceased children and one who survived, in a court affidavit filed Tuesday evening.
Numerous news organizations, including The Texas Tribune and ProPublica, are suing DPS for records that could provide a more complete picture of law enforcement’s response to the shooting, which left 19 students and two teachers dead in the border community.
The state’s top police agency has refused to release records, including incident reports, internal communications, ballistic reports and body-camera footage.
Last week, Uvalde District Attorney Christina Mitchell supported DPS’ position in a court filing. Disclosing such records could jeopardize any criminal charges Mitchell may seek in response to an investigation by the Texas Rangers, her office wrote.
In a court filing asking a judge to block the release of records, Mitchell’s office claimed that the families of every child who was killed shared her view.
“All of the families of the deceased children have stated to District Attorney Mitchell that they do not want the investigation of the Texas Rangers released until she has had ample time to review the case and present it to an Uvalde grand jury, if appropriate,” her office wrote.
At least two parents told ProPublica and the Tribune that Mitchell never asked for their input on the release of records. Separately, attorneys representing numerous families said they disagreed with Mitchell’s attempt to withhold the records related to the investigation.
“To date our attempts to gain information that these families should be entitled to receive from their government officials has been thwarted under the vague allegation of ongoing investigations. This attempt by Ms. Mitchell to intervene and prevent the release of this report is another example,” said Robert Paul Wilson, a lawyer representing the families of a teacher and a student killed in the shooting as well as children who survived.
See here, here, and here for some background. We can certainly talk about the ongoing investigations and the need to keep at least some information confidential for the time being – it would be nice to have some limits on that, and to give some general idea of how much long it might take, though that is an issue the courts may rule on. Lying about having all of the affected parents on your side, that’s pretty egregious. Why lie about something that can be so easily checked? Not a good look at all. I hope she gets held to account for that.