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Uvalde is suing the local district attorney over records related to Robb Elementary shooting

Burning candles surround mounds of pictures, stuffed animals, flowers and balloon that help make up the memorial near a fountain in Uvalde's town center.
Jiawen Chen
/
TPR
A makeshift memorial to the 19 Uvalde children and two adults that were killed last week continues to grow as visitors leave tokens of condolences.

The lawsuit comes after city officials said they have tried to obtain information from the District Attorney they say they need as part of an ongoing internal affairs investigation into law enforcement’s response to the shooting.

The city government of Uvalde has filed a lawsuit against the Uvalde County district attorney to force her office to turn over documents related to the investigation into the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School.

The lawsuit comes after city officials have tried to obtain information from District Attorney Christina Mitchell they say they need as part of an ongoing internal affairs investigation into law enforcement’s response to the shooting. Nineteen children and two schoolteachers died in the shooting.

“The Uvalde community has waited entirely too long for answers and transparency with regard to the Robb Elementary shooting incident,” city officials said in a statement. “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 lawsuit was filed in state district court in Uvalde County.

The Uvalde police department mandates an internal affairs investigation be conducted following any shooting, the court filing states. In this case, the independent investigation is being conducted by Austin-based private investigator Jesse Prado of JPPI Investigations, but the progress has been “significantly restricted” by the lack of information.

“The only information Prado has access to at this time is from City witnesses, much of which was provided to the City subject to a non-disclosure agreement and criminal investigation privilege,” the complaint adds. “Prado needs Plaintiff City’s Original Petition Page 3 access to additional investigative materials from other law enforcement agencies to review and provide an accurate and complete Internal Affairs investigation and report.”

Law enforcement’s response to the shooting has been heavily criticized after it was discovered that officers from local, school district, state and federal agencies didn’t engage the gunman for nearly 80 minutes. The city’s investigation will determine if city police responded according to protocol or if disciplinary action is required.

Mitchell’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday afternoon.

The lawsuit comes just days after nearly three dozen survivors of the shooting filed a class-action lawsuit against several law enforcement agencies seeking nearly $30 billion in damages, The Hill reported. The plaintiffs in that case include students, parents, teachers and other school staff who were at the school the day of the shooting. The defendants include the City of Uvalde and the Uvalde school district, their police agencies, and officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

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Got a tip? Email Julián Aguilar at jaguilar@kera.org.You can follow Julián on Twitter @nachoaguilar