Infamous Police Chief Indicted

(Patriot.Buzz) – An Uvalde County grand jury has indicted former school district police Chief Pete Arredondo and former district officer Adrian Gonzalez on charges of child endangerment and abandonment.

This marks the first criminal charges against law enforcement for the mishandled response to Texas’ deadliest school shooting. In turn, these charges come more than two years after the May 24, 2022, shooting where a lone gunman killed 19 fourth graders and two teachers.

Uvalde County District Attorney Christina Mitchell convened a grand jury in January to investigate law enforcement’s delayed response and decide whether to bring criminal charges against any of the nearly 400 officers involved.

Law enforcement waited 77 minutes to confront the gunman, who was ultimately shot and killed by Border Patrol officers.

Furthermore, the delayed response has been widely criticized, including in a January report by the U.S. Department of Justice. The report documented failures in leadership, with U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland noting that lives could have been saved had law enforcement acted sooner.

In the months following the shooting, about a dozen officers were fired, suspended, or retired. Arredondo was fired about three months after the shooting as he was listed as the incident commander on the school district’s active shooter response plan.

Local activist Lalo Castillo expected state officials to face criminal charges as well. “Especially the state troopers because they were the first ones there,” Castillo said, referring to officers from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

In addition, it is unclear if other officers will face criminal charges given that grand jury proceedings in Texas are secret, so witness testimony is not open to the public.

Even though police officers have legal protections that make it difficult to bring criminal charges against them, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that officers do not have a constitutional “duty to protect,” even if they are trained to do so.

Lately, the city of Uvalde released an independent review that cleared all local officers of wrongdoing, frustrating parents of the children killed and some local officials.

In the absence of concrete action by elected officials, some families have filed civil lawsuits. Relatives of 17 of the children killed, and two who were injured sued DPS in May, the day before the second anniversary of the shooting.

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