Reps. Castro, Johnson, Doggett, Green, Veasey, Allred, Escobar, Fletcher, Garcia, Urge Attorney General Paxton to Stop Cover-Up in Uvalde
SAN ANTONIO — Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) led eight members of the Texas congressional delegation in a letter urging Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to issue a ruling that exceptions to the Texas Public Information Act are inapplicable when used to conceal information about the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
Since the May 24, 2022 shooting, the city of Uvalde has received dozens of public records requests for information on the tragedy. Media organizations and local leaders have argued that releasing 911 call recordings, body and police car camera footage, communication between responding agencies, and other documents would resolve conflicting accounts from the shooting and help the public learn the truth about law enforcement’s response. To date, Uvalde city officials have refused to provide these records.
On June 16, 2022, attorneys for the city of Uvalde asked Attorney General Paxton to issue a ruling that information on the shooting should be exempt from public disclosure requirements. In the request, the attorneys argue that complying with records requests could cause “emotional/mental distress” and release “highly embarrassing information” to the public.
In today’s letter, lawmakers outline the compelling public interest in information related to the Uvalde shooting, writing that Paxton has a choice to “shine a light on what went wrong to help Uvalde heal or be part of the cover up.”
The full letter can be read here or below.
Dear Attorney General Paxton,
As Texans continue to mourn the horrific shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24, 2022, the families of the victims are still struggling to get basic answers on how their loved ones died. Over the last four weeks, changing accounts about what occurred in Uvalde have compounded the trauma of this shooting, undermined public faith in our state leaders, and led to unproductive finger-pointing among state and local officials.
The City of Uvalde is seeking to delay access to documents and video footage to the families, press, and public. You have been asked to justify the effort to conceal information under the Texas Public Information law. I strongly encourage your office to issue a ruling that exceptions to the Texas Public Information law are inapplicable when used to conceal information related to the shooting in Uvalde. Information about what transpired that day should not be withheld due to an exemption that exists to protect innocent people, of which the shooter in Uvalde is not. The public is entitled to the truth.
You are in a unique position, and the people of Texas are counting on you. The public is entitled to this information, regardless of whether revealing details about the law enforcement response is “highly embarrassing,” as an attorney representing Uvalde has said.
The aftermath of what occurred in Uvalde devastated the community and people across Texas. A first step in restoring trust in law enforcement and healing requires transparency from state and local officials. You have a choice: shine a light on what went wrong to help Uvalde heal or be part of the cover up.
Please, help the families of Uvalde learn the truth.
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