Uvalde parents sue DPS officers

I hope they can get this to a courtroom. I fear that “qualified immunity” will stop them beforehand.

Relatives of 17 children killed and two kids injured in Texas’ deadliest school shooting are suing Texas Department of Public Safety officers who were among hundreds of law enforcement that waited 77 minutes to confront the gunman at Uvalde’s Robb Elementary, lawyers announced Wednesday.

“Nearly 100 officers from the Texas Department of Public Safety have yet to face a shred of accountability for cowering in fear while my daughter and nephew bled to death in their classroom,” Veronica Luevanos, whose daughter Jailah and nephew Jayce were killed, said in a statement.

The legal action against 92 DPS officers comes days before the two-year anniversary of the shooting in which an 18-year-old used an AR-15 to kill 19 students and two teachers in two adjoining fourth-grade classrooms.

Relatives of most of those students killed and two who were injured also announced Wednesday that they are suing Mandy Gutierrez, who was the principal at Robb at the time, and Pedro “Pete” Arredondo, who was the school district police chief, for their “inaction” that day.

The families’ attorney also announced Wednesday that the city of Uvalde will pay them $2 million to avoid a lawsuit. Additionally, the city will provide enhanced training for current and future police officers, designate May 24 as an annual day of remembrance and work with victims’ families to design a permanent memorial at the city plaza, among other things.

City officials and DPS did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

During a press conference in Uvalde, an attorney for the families, Josh Koskoff, said the state’s failure to prevent the deaths began long before the shooting occurred. He said Texas failed to provide small communities like Uvalde with enough resources to train their officers.

“You think the city of Uvalde has enough money, or training, or resources? You think they can hire the best of the best?” Koskoff said. “As far as the state of Texas is concerned, it sounds like their position is: You’re on your own.”

Koskoff also hinted that the families could also sue state and federal agencies, but did not name which ones. He also said the families are negotiating an agreement with the county, which would also avoid a lawsuit.

The wording on this story and on the TPR story, which says that a settlement has been reached with Uvalde County, is a little confusing to me. There are multiple lawsuits already filed by Uvalde parents, with that first one including Gutierrez, Arredondo, DPS as a whole, and the city of Uvalde as defendants. I originally thought this story meant that this was an amendment to that first lawsuit, but now I’m pretty sure it’s a new action, and that the city of Uvalde and Uvalde County were going to be defendants but were able to come to an agreement before they got served. It’s hard keeping track of all this stuff sometimes.

Anyway. The story notes the same issue with qualified immunity that I mentioned, so we’ll see where it gets. Far as I know, all of the other suits are still active. I wish them all good luck. The Associated Press, whose report I saw after I drafted this and which I found to be more clear on the timeline and the defendants, has more.

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