- The Uvalde city council slammed the release of security footage of the Robb Elementary shooting.
- They were upset that families of the shooting victims weren't allowed to see the video first.
- Don McLaughlin, Uvalde's mayor, called the release "one of the most chicken things I've ever seen."
The Uvalde city council has condemned a media outlet's release of security footage from Robb Elementary School taken during a devastating mass shooting in May, saying the victims' families should have been allowed to see the footage first.
"The way that video was released today, is one of the most chicken things I've ever seen," said Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin at a city council meeting on Tuesday evening.
McLaughlin's concern was with a portion of the footage showing the gunman walking into the school with an assault-style rifle and the subsequent gunshots heard throughout the 77-minute attack.
"Two-thirds of the family or part of their families are in Washington D.C. now, and they're going to have to turn on the TV and see that tonight," McLaughlin said.
The video sparked further uproar after it was released on Tuesday by the Austin American-Statesman. The footage showed police lingering for over an hour in the hallway outside the classroom where the lone shooter killed 19 children and two teachers.
Officers were also seen retreating down the hallway after hearing shots fired and holding back from a rescue attempt despite more law enforcement officers, ballistic shields, and high-caliber rifles arriving on the scene. In one segment, an officer in a ballistic vest was seen stopping to use a hand sanitizer dispenser.
McLaughlin claimed that news agencies were told that authorities planned to show the footage to the victims' families on Sunday. However, the Austin American-Statesman still published the video anyway, he said.
"Whether it was released by the DPS or whoever it was released for, in my opinion, it was very unprofessional, which this investigation has been, since day one," he said, referring to the Texas Department of Public Security.
Another council member, Ernest King, added: "The mayor said it was chicken, it was chicken shit. The way you did it. That part of the video was not supposed to be what they're doing on Sunday."
"That was not supposed to be there," he said. "They did that for ratings, and they did that for money."
Two meeting attendees challenged King's criticism. "What about the cops? Were they chicken shit?" one stood up and asked. "We're going to handle that," King answered.
"You said that they did their job. Do you still think they did a good job?" the man continued.
McLaughlin told the attendees that they should "let the investigation come through."
"You're out here attacking the media. You should be attacking the cops," the attendee said.
"Yeah, you should be attacking the cops that did nothing," said another attendee.
McLaughlin responded: "I have said from day one that every agency that was in that hallway has to be held accountable for their actions that day. Everyone. No one will be exempt."
In a column published Tuesday, Manny Garcia, the American-Statesman's executive editor, wrote that the outlet released the security footage after "long and thoughtful discussions."
"Our goal is to continue to bring to light what happened at Robb Elementary, which the families and friends of the Uvalde victims have long been asking for," he wrote.