Grand jury will meet on Friday – discuss charging Uvalde school shooting cops with crimes

Grand jury will meet on Friday - discuss charging Uvalde school shooting cops with crimes
Grand jury will meet on Friday – discuss charging Uvalde school shooting cops with crimes | Image Credit: abc7ny.com

Two people with direct knowledge told the Austin American-Statesman, a part of the USA TODAY Network, that a Texas judge seated a grand jury on Friday to consider potential criminal charges against law enforcement officials who neglected to react appropriately to one of the worst school shootings in history at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde school shooting cops with crimes
Uvalde school shooting cops with crimes | Image Credit: usatoday.com

Much of the material examined by the U.S. Department of Justice prior to its harsh report, which was released on Thursday and detailed several shortcomings in law enforcement’s response to the incident on May 24, 2022, which claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers, is anticipated to be presented before the grand jury.

The Statesman reported that while the exact charges that the grand jury in Uvalde County state district court may consider against the cops are unknown, they may include child endangerment or damage to a kid. Child endangerment is defined by Texas law as when someone “intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence” puts a child who is 15 years of age or under “in imminent danger of death.”

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Separate from the publication of the Justice Department’s findings, the grand jury’s convocation has been planned for weeks, as first reported by the Uvalde Leader-News. The individuals who provided the American-Statesman with confirmation of the development did so under the condition of anonymity because they lacked authorization to discuss it in public.

During the incident, Robb Elementary was visited by a number of authorities, including federal agents, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and local municipal and school district police officers. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland stated unequivocally during a press conference on Thursday in Uvalde that lives would have been spared if the attack had been stopped right away by the responding law enforcement personnel.

The Justice Department investigation listed other shortcomings, including Pete Arredondo, the previous head of police for the Uvalde school district, who failed to handle the gunman as an active shooter rather than a person who was barricaded. According to the report, he mishandled incident command, leading to a number of problems and a 77-minute delay in getting to the victims.

When specifically questioned about why the Justice Department’s report did not address the question of whether criminal charges ought to be brought, Garland stated he would defer to the Uvalde County district attorney in making such determinations.

“Only in cases where there has been a federal crime does the Justice Department have criminal jurisdiction,” Garland stated at his press conference on Thursday in Uvalde. “This shooter has passed away. Moreover, federal criminal jurisdiction does not exist.”

Families were left asking why the DOJ report didn’t identify the police who failed them.

The families of the victims have been curious since the massacre on May 24, 2022, whether their son, daughter, sister, or brother would have survived if law enforcement had stormed the classroom right away, confronted the gunman, and neutralized him as has been standard procedure ever since the horrific Columbine shooting in 1999.

Garland has received praise from a number of the victims’ relatives for his sympathetic demeanor and the thoroughness of his office’s investigation, which is the most extensive to date. However, many unanswered questions still plague the family 20 months after the tragedy.

Following the release of the DOJ report on Thursday, one of the main concerns raised by families was regarding the actions of individual police officers in response to the tragedy. Garland said it was standard practice for Department of Justice reports to simply name the highest-ranking officials in the extensive list of first responders’ mistakes.

“I don’t understand why they are allowed privacy,” said activist and past mayoral candidate Kimberly Mata-Rubio, whose daughter was slain in the incident. “These children, my child, are mentioned in this report because they have passed away. Everyone ought to have received a name.”

Many police officers are still on the job, despite the fact that some have been dismissed. This fact, according to Brett Cross, whose son Uziyah “Uzi” Garcia was slain, haunts people who were impacted by the incident.

Speaking to Uvalde community members, he stated, “Maybe now that the DOJ has put its stamp on this, you guys will start taking us seriously instead of telling us to move on, telling us to sweep it under the rug and not knowing a damn thing about it.” “It’s hard enough … to walk into an H-E-B and see a cop that you know was standing there while our babies were murdered and bleeding out.”

Cross and other family members criticized Uvalde County District Attorney Christina Mitchell’s reluctance to make public documents that may result in criminal charges against some police at the press conference on Thursday.

“We know that the district attorney has done nothing at all, and we refuse to accept that,” he added. “I also hope this fires a fire under her ass.” “Perform your duties.”

Source:
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2024/01/19/uvalde-shooting-grand-jury-criminal-charges-police-failure/72288265007/

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