After more than a year of back and forth in the courtroom, a state district court judge in Austin has ruled the Texas Department of Public Safety must release records from the Uvalde school shooting.
KSAT 12 News and more than a dozen media organizations filed a lawsuit on Aug. 1, 2022, asking a judge to order DPS to release records regarding the law enforcement response to the May 24, 2022, massacre at Robb Elementary School.
The requests for information were filed under the Texas Public Information Act by local, state, and national newsrooms. However, DPS officials refused to release them, citing a pending investigation exemption.
Records we’re asking for include emails, unredacted body-worn cameras and other video footage, call logs, 911 records and other emergency communications, interview notes, forensic and ballistic records, and lists of DPS personnel who responded to the tragedy.
According to the Texas House of Representatives Investigative Committee on the Robb Elementary Shooting report released in July 2022, DPS had 91 of its officers respond to the shooting.
Per the terms of this final judgment, DPS must disclose the records within 20 days. The law enforcement agency has until Dec. 28 to file an appeal on the ruling and has previously indicated it will do so.
If an appeal is filed, that could further delay the release of records.
Brett Cross, guardian of Uziyah Garcia — who was killed in the shooting — says if DPS files an appeal, it assures him that their response to the shooting wasn’t sufficient.
“They are covering up for themselves, and they are covering up for other people, and that they do not plan to hold anybody accountable,” Cross said.
Uvalde County District Attorney Christina Mitchell tried to intervene on behalf of DPS in the ongoing lawsuit, but the judge blocked her from doing so in September.
The media organizations include the following:
- The Texas Tribune
- ABC News
- CBS News
- Dow Jones & Co.
- Graham Media Group, Houston
- Graham Media Group, San Antonio
- NBC News
- The New York Times Company
- Pro Publica, Inc.
- Scripps Media
- The Washington Post