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Uvalde Sues DA For Not Giving Independent Investigator Info About Elementary School Massacre

Uvalde, TX – The city of Uvalde sued Uvalde County District Attorney Christina Mitchell on Thursday in an effort to force her to turn over information they say an independent investigator needs in order to conduct an investigation into the law enforcement response to the Robb Elementary School massacre.

In the lawsuit filed on Dec. 1, Uvalde city officials asked the court to order Mitchell to hand over all of the relevant information she has regarding the deadly school shooting to Jesse Prado, the private investigator it has hired to conduct the internal affairs probe, The Texas Tribune reported.

Prado has been tasked with evaluating how Uvalde police responded to the incident, as well as whether any of them violated policies or procedures that day.

“The internal affairs investigation by Prado is ongoing, but it is significantly restricted by the scope of evidence available to Prado by defendant,” the filing read.

Prado needs the investigative materials that Mitchell is in possession of in order to “provide an accurate and complete internal affairs investigation and report,” the suit alleged, according to The Texas Tribune.

Those materials include bodycam footage and reports from multiple law enforcement agencies about the day of the shooting, ABC News reported.

The city said it intends to use Prado’s findings to determine whether any Uvalde police officers should face disciplinary action, according to The Texas Tribune.

“Without complete investigatory information, the city will be detrimentally affected in fulfilling the statutory requirements related to its own officers’ conduct and fulfilling its own policies,” the lawsuit said.

City officials released a statement saying that the community of Uvalde has “waited entirely too long for answers and transparency” regarding the school shooting and what took place that day, The Texas Tribune reported.

“Despite the City of Uvalde’s efforts to amicably obtain the necessary investigative materials for its ongoing Uvalde Police Department’s Internal Affairs investigation, the District Attorney has blocked the City’s ability to obtain critical information to assess its officers’ actions and compliance with police department policies and expectations,” the statement read.

“From day one, the city’s focus is on helping the entire Uvalde community, parents who lost children, children who lost parents, and young survivors navigate through the healing process,” city officials added.

The lawsuit acknowledged that a separate criminal investigation remains ongoing, The Texas Tribune reported.

Mitchell said she cannot issue a decision about whether any charges will be filed until that investigation, which is being handled by the Texas Rangers, is complete.

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said he expects the Texas Rangers’ investigation to be wrapped up by the end of December, The Texas Tribune reported.

The lawsuit noted that the ongoing investigation “should not prohibit defendant from providing the relevant information to the city’s investigator while maintaining confidentiality of investigation materials.”

“We hope this lawsuit will allow the City’s investigation into the conduct of its officers to be completed so as to give the community and families the answers they deserve,” the city said in a statement to ABC News.

Mitchell did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit on Thursday, according to The Texas Tribune.

According to a scathing 77-page report released by a Texas House of Representatives investigative committee in July, 376 law enforcement officers responded to the school as the 18-year-old gunman carried out his attack inside a fourth-grade classroom on May 24, the Associated Press reported.

Twenty-five of the responding officers were members of the Uvalde Police Department, according to The Texas Tribune.

It took police 77 minutes to storm the classroom and fatally shoot the gunman.

Nineteen children and two adults were murdered in the massacre.

At least 17 other victims were wounded.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin

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