Nearly six months after the Uvalde tragedy took the lives of 19 students and two teachers, surviving parents, staff, and students have filed a $27 billion class action suit against those whom the victims feel are responsible.
The complaint names Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District PD, the Uvalde Police Department, and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), along with the city of Uvalde and DPS Chief Steve McCraw as defendants.
The officers are accused of failing to follow “active shooter protocol” by waiting more than an hour before confronting the gunman.
“Law enforcement took seventy-seven minutes to accomplish what they were duty bound to expeditiously perform,” according to court documents.
According to PBS, the lawsuit claims that “the conduct of three hundred and seventy-six (376) law enforcement officials who were on hand for the exhaustively tortuous seventy-seven minutes of law enforcement indecision, dysfunction, and harm, fell exceedingly short of their duty-bound standards.”
At least 11 officers entered the building roughly three minutes after the shooting began, but failed to intervene.
“A local new reporter shared a screenshot of the camera footage in question on Twitter, depicting officers with rifles entering the school hallway at 11:52 a.m. The gunman could be heard firing his weapon almost 30 minutes after their arrival,” Rolling Stone reported.
Investigators believe this is significant because it indicates they had more than enough firepower and protection to enter the classroom before they did. Officers were growing impatient far sooner: “If there’s kids in there we need to go in there,” one said on body camera video.
— Tony Plohetski (@tplohetski) June 20, 2022
Weeks prior to the filing, Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District announced the indefinite suspension of the district’s entire police force. This came two months after the Uvalde school board voted unanimously to fire police chief Pete Arredondo in August.
Though Arredondo wasn’t physically on the scene, he came under intense scrutiny and criticism for his seeming lack of control over the situation — which many say contributed to the chaos and carnage of that fateful day. Parents and survivors of the tragedy were pleased with the decision — cheering the board’s actions after the vote was announced.
Arredondo is also named as a defendant, court documents show.
Despite the firing of DPS Sergeant Juan Maldonado, and other officers present on the scene, Chief McGraw remains in his position — despite repeated calls for his resignation — claiming that his agency didn’t fail Uvalde.
Uvalde survivors have filed a separate $6 billion lawsuit against gun manufacturer Daniel Defense — maker of the AR-15 style gun used by 19-year-old Salvador Ramos in the shooting. The Uvalde gunman isn’t the first to use a firearm manufactured by Daniel Defense in a mass shooting.
One of the company’s weapons was used by the Las Vegas shooter in 2017 where 100 people were killed and hundreds more injured in what was then called the deadliest mass shooting in the country’s history.
In July, gun advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), accusing Daniel Defense of targeting “at-risk” youth with their ads.
“The content and placement of Daniel Defense’s marketing strongly suggest that the company markets its products, including its AR-15-style rifles, to teenagers and young adults. It does so through, inter alia, social media content and print advertising,” Everytown asserted in their complaint.
“There is substantial evidence that Daniel Defense has violated, and is violating, the FTC Act by marketing assault weapons to the civilian market with violent and militaristic imagery, unfairly implying that civilians can use their weapons for offensive combat-like missions, and appealing particularly to the thrill-seeking and impulsive tendencies of susceptible teens and young men who are attracted to violence and military fantasies.”
With a population of just over 15,000, Uvalde is considered a tight-knit community.
Many families living in close proximity to where the tragedy happened, “will now be forced to endure the indelible and forever-lasting trauma,” said to have been “immeasurably caused and amplified” by the defendants, the suit states.
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