Uvalde, Texas, Mayor Don McLaughlin blasted the press on Tuesday for leaking surveillance footage that lays bare the horrendous police response to the Uvalde gunman.
The video, published by the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV, shows police responded to the school just minutes after the rampage began. However, for nearly 1.5 hours, police loitered outside the classroom where the killer had barricaded himself and refused to engage him, which could have potentially saved more lives.
The shocking video even shows some officers engaging in casual activities like checking cellphones and using a hand sanitizer dispenser in the hallway.
What did McLaughlin say?
Speaking at an Uvalde City Council meeting, McLaughlin condemned the press for publishing the video before victims’ families had the opportunity to see it for themselves.
“I want to go on the record: The way that video was released today was one of the most chicken things I’ve ever seen,” McLaughlin said.
According to the mayor, officials had planned to meet with victims’ families on Sunday, where they would be offered a report on the police response and given the opportunity to review an edited version of the video. The version leaked to the press included footage of the killer as he shot into the classroom and audio of gunshots.
“There was no reason for those families to have to see that. They were going to see the video, but they didn’t need to see the gunman coming in and hear the gunshots,” McLaughlin said. “They don’t need to relive that. They’ve been through enough.”
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Uvalde Councilman Ernest King later chimed in, “The mayor said ‘chicken’ — it was chickens**t to release that video the way you did.”
“Yeah,” McLaughlin agreed.
What did the citizen say?
As King continued to blast the media, claiming the outlets published the video for money and attention, an audience member interrupted to ask about the police response.
“What about the cops? Are they chickens**t?” the citizen interjected.
Then, directing his inquiry toward McLaughlin, the man, whom the mayor identified as “Adam,” said, “You still think [the cops] did a good job?”
“Adam, I’m not going to get into an argument with you on that,” McLaughlin responded before defending some of the officers.
“You should ask everybody what they think —” the man was responding when McLaughlin interrupted.
“I know what everybody thinks, and we need to let the investigation come through,” McLaughlin said.
Another man in the audience then pointed out the irony of the council blasting the media. “You should attack those cops who did nothing,” that person said.
McLaughlin then accused the man whom he identified as “Adam” of “missing the point” because “you only hear what you want to hear.” The mayor then promised accounability for all law enforcement involved.