Release of Uvalde School Shooting Hallway Footage Leads to Tense Exchange During City Council Meeting

The footage spurred a back-and-forth at a council meeting in which a community member defended the media, saying police should be criticized instead.

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Content warning: The footage above may be considered graphic by some viewers.

As criticism continues to mount over the law enforcement response to the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, attention has turned to newly released footage showing the shooter entering the building and more of the widely criticized actions of responding officers.

The footage in question is reported to have been obtained by local outlet the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE reporter Tony Plohetski, with local officials having since argued that plans were in place to show the footage to victims’ families in a private setting.

The full 77-minute video, per the Statesman, shows a number of law enforcement officers—many of whom are clearly heavily armed and wearing protective equipment—walking in the hallway. At one point, officers are seen rushing back to the end of the hallway after gunshots are heard.

At an Uvalde City Council meeting on Tuesday, mention of the video ultimately spurred a back-and-forth between Mayor Don McLaughlin and a community member who defended its release.

“I’ll say one thing, since you brought up the video. … I wanna go on the record, the way that video was released today is one of the most chicken things I’ve ever seen,” the mayor said. “Yes, I’ve wanted the video released, but all these news agencies knew that we were working with the House committee. They were going to have a meeting Sunday to give a report to the family members Sunday morning. And then Sunday afternoon around 2 o’clock they were gonna come back and answer the family’s questions and show them the video. Every news agency knew that.”

Another council member, Ernest King III, added to the mayor’s criticism, saying it was “chickenshit to release that video” in that fashion. Defenders of the press, however, have widely disagreed. This was made immediately evident at Tuesday’s meeting when a voice was heard off camera stating this same line of criticism from the council should instead be directed at local police.

“What about the cops? Are they chickenshit?” a community member is heard saying, adding that the mayor and others have publicly defended officers’ actions. A voice is then heard off camera stating more directly, “Y’all are attacking the media. You should be attacking the cops.”

See footage of the full meeting below.

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McLaughlin, notably, also made similar “chicken” remarks in an interview shard by KSAT 12 on Tuesday, as seen below.

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In a tweeted statement, also shared on Tuesday evening, Plohetski noted the unprecedented nature of present-day journalism.

“The journalistic decisions we have confronted were never imagined in college ethics classes or professional seminars,” he said. “The truth and the public’s right to know are our guideposts. My thoughts are with the people of Uvalde.”

Meanwhile, the Uvalde City Council has formally accepted the council membership resignation of Pete Arredondo, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief who’s received ongoing criticism in connection with the shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead in May.

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