Texas Department of Public Safety believes releasing body camera footage from the police response to the Uvalde shooting could allow future school shooters to find “weaknesses” for the future, according to a public records denial letter released Monday.
VICE tech and science vertical Motherboard requested the body cam footage as a part of a larger public records request of the state agency. Instead of releasing the relevant records to VICE (and the public), the agency has turned toward the Attorney General office to suppress records under the guise of an ongoing investigation. In their letter requesting the AG consider halting the release of such relevant records, a lawyer for DPS stated that the records will reveal “invaluable information” about law enforcement investigative efforts. “Knowing the intelligence and response capabilities of Department personnel and where those employees focus their attention will compromise law enforcement purposes by enabling criminals to anticipate weakness in law enforcement procedures and alter their methods of operation in order to avoid detection and apprehension,” the letter stated.
The “weakness,” in this case, refers to the Uvalde police doing absolutely nothing as a school shooter murdered 19 children and two teachers for nearly an hour at Robb Elementary in late May, as literally parents begged the armed cops to do something. The police department has since stopped cooperating with a state investigation into its response to the shooting.
Customs and Border Patrol quickly rejected VICE’s federal public information request as part of an ongoing investigation. Uvalde Police and the Uvalde school district have not acknowledged the site’s requests. Under Texas law, public records requests must be acknowledged and fulfilled “promptly.” But if it will take more than 10 days, the agency must notify the filer in writing. So interesting tactic by the Uvalde Police and Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District!
In contrast, Motherboard reported that not only has DPS acknowledged that such records do exist, the site was told promptly. What’s weirder about this denial is that The New York Times published a transcript of one officer’s body camera.
The records—photos, audio, videos, first-hand accounts—of this horrific day are making it out into the public. There is a public clamoring for information about how nearly 21 people were murdered. Turning to the state attorney general’s office to suppress those records will only prolong the inevitable.