Uvalde is working with private law firm to avoid releasing public records of school shootings, report says



According to a letter obtained this week by Vice News.

As information about law enforcement’s response to the massacre continues to shift, members of the press, lawmakers and the Uvalde community are searching for answers. Numerous public information requests were made in the aftermath of the tragedy, many relating to body camera footage, photos, 911 calls, emails, text messages and criminal records.

However, a recent letter from city attorney Cynthia Trevino, who works for the private law firm Denton Navarro Rocha Bernal & Zech, to Attorney General Ken Paxton explains why those requests have gone unanswered. In the letter, Trevino asks the Republican leader to determine what public records he is required to release and clarifies that the city has received 148 requests for public records regarding the mass shooting. However, the city “did not voluntarily release any information to any member of the public.”

Trevino also clarifies that the city and its police department want to be excused from releasing certain records that could include “very embarrassing information” that “would be very objectionable to a reasonable person” and also “that is not of legitimate public concern.” The requested information could also potentially reveal “methods, techniques, and strategies to prevent and predict crime,” writes Trevino.

It’s unclear which records, in particular, the city and police are referring to in the letter. Trevino also writes that the shooting is currently being investigated by the Texas Rangers, the FBI and the Uvalde County District Attorney.

“They claim that compiling the criminal history of individuals is very embarrassing information, which is a strange cover-up. The embarrassing information is the inept response of the police,” said Christopher Schneider, professor of sociology at the University of Brandon, who studies police cameras and disclosure. footage of them, Vice News said. “They have no problem using such information against individuals in the public. Disclosure of information should go both ways, if that is the case.”

A similar letter was recently sent to Paxton by the Texas Department of Public Safety seeking to remove body camera footage in relation to the Uvalde shooting as it could expose ‘weaknesses’ in the police response. to crimes, according to Vice.

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