Uvalde mayor speaks about lawsuit filed against the district attorney

Officials say outside investigator has been unable to obtain necessary information to conduct review

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin is speaking about the lawsuit filed against the Uvalde County District Attorney Christina Mitchell nearly one week ago.

UVALDE – The mayor of Uvalde is sitting down with KSAT 12 News for the first time since a lawsuit was filed by the city against the county district attorney.

The lawsuit is surrounding the release of records for an independent investigation of the Uvalde Police Department.

”The DPS is investigating the DPS, they have access,” Don McLaughlin, mayor of Uvalde said. “Texas Rangers are investigating themselves, they have access. The Border Patrol is investigating themselves, they have access. The city has been denied access.”

After the city of Uvalde was named the defendant of two other lawsuits filed last week, Mayor McLaughlin is speaking out about one filed on behalf of his city against Uvalde district attorney Christina Mitchell.

”We have no choice, we have...we need answers so we can go through our police department and make changes that need to be made. Change....if we have officers [who] need to be held accountable, we need to know what their actions were that day,” McLaughlin said.

In July, McLaughlin announced an independent investigation into Uvalde PD would be done by Austin investigator Jesse Prado.

Initially, McLaughlin said it would take anywhere from 60 to 90 days to complete.

Now he says because DA Mitchell is withholding materials like body camera video and audio from all responding law enforcement agencies, Prado’s investigation cannot move forward.

“I kept quiet for the last 60 days 70 days, you didn’t hear me say anything negative about it hoping that we would resolve this and and we didn’t,” McLaughlin said.

In previous statements, Mitchell has said the release of the information would impact her criminal investigation into the May 24th shooting at Robb Elementary.

McLaughlin says that’s not true.

“Mr. Prado told her that it would be kept strictly confidential and wouldn’t be released without her OK and he also told her that if he came across anything that was criminal that they had missed he has an obligation and a duty to bring that forward to her,” McLaughlin said.

Since the shooting, there’s been a constant battle between McLaughlin and Mitchell.

He hopes this lawsuit gets them in front of a judge and the independent investigation back on track.

“It’s not like you’re going to be able to put this off forever it needs to be it needs to be transparent and on the table and and let’s move forward,” he said.

In the 21-page lawsuit filed on December 1st, it’s stated this delay in Prado’s investigation is causing imminent and irreparable injury to the city and people of Uvalde.

In our conversation Tuesday, Mayor McLaughlin says Mitchell’s actions are furthering the hurt of the Robb Elementary victim’s families who are looking for any closure they can get.

”Parents shouldn’t have to bury their children and they had to on this one and it shouldn’t happen that way. But I would like to think that if maybe we could give them answers and they had actually had facts of what went down that day, that would bring some kind of closure,” he said.

KSAT 12 News has tried several times over the phone and via email to speak to or get a statement from DA Mitchell. She has not returned those messages.

McLaughlin says he’s gotten no communication from her as well since the lawsuit was filed.

According to the lawsuit filed by the city, Mitchell’s criminal investigation should have been wrapped up last month.

That has not happened and a new timeline hasn’t been given.

About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.