Texas state police can keep Uvalde records secret for now, judge rules
Mourners gather at a memorial in Uvalde, Texas on May 26, 2022 after a gunman murdered 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school (AFP)

By Zach Despart, The Texas Tribune

A state district judge ruled Wednesday that the Department of Public Safety does not have to turn over records related to the Uvalde school shooting sought by state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who had sued the state police in hopes of securing them.

The order by Travis County 419th Civil District Court Judge Catherine A. Mauzy was narrow, however, and sidestepped the question of whether the state police can withhold records concerning their response to the May 24 massacre at Robb Elementary School. Mauzy concluded that Gutierrez had not properly filed his request under the Texas Public Information Act, the state’s public records law, and therefore DPS was not obligated to fulfill it.

Still, the outcome grants a reprieve for the state police, who have fought to keep secret the details of how 91 officers responded to the shooting. Gutierrez, whose district includes Uvalde, wrote a letter to DPS Director Steve McCraw on May 30, requesting the agency’s training manuals as well as any documents that detail how the state police responded to the shooting that day. In a hearing last week, DPS officials said that request should have gone to the agency’s media relations office.

A separate lawsuit against DPS, filed by a consortium of news organizations including The Texas Tribune and ProPublica, seeks to persuade a judge to compel the state police to release Uvalde records that the journalists submitted under the public information act. That case is ongoing.


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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2022/08/10/dps-uvalde-texas-state-police-gutierrez-lawsuit/.

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