Uvalde police threaten to arrest journalists outside school district headquarters


Police in Uvalde, Texas on Thursday threatened to arrest reporters for trespassing at school district headquarters as top cops come under scrutiny for their response to the Robb Elementary School massacre.

Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo has been locked up in district offices or at his home under police protection as questions swirl over whether law enforcement is costing lives when they waited an hour to eliminate the gunman who slaughtered 19 children and two adults last week.

An Uvalde officer checked the press credentials of two Post staffers and an NBC News crew on Thursday, warning them they would be arrested for trespassing if they did not leave.

School district offices are in a private office complex, but other members of the public were allowed into the taxpayer-funded office, including a local poet who dropped off a copy of one of his works.

CNN correspondent Shimon Prokupecz posted a video tweeted more threats of arrest on Wednesday, with four uniformed police officers seen blocking the way to the offices.

“Well, I’ll just let you know that Uvalde PD is on his way,” an officer says in the clip. “Once they get here, they’ll start issuing criminal trespasses for property.”

Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo has been locked in the district offices or at his home under police protection.
John Roca

“They want us to give you the initial warning and then if you’re still around they’re going to issue criminal intrusions,” another chimes in.

The clashes come after a CNN crew caught up with media-shy Arredondo in the office on Wednesday. Arredondo briefly told the news station that he was in contact with the Texas Department of Public Safety, despite reports that he had stopped cooperating with its investigation into the shooting.

Public Safety Director Steven McCraw had told Arredondo as the on-scene commander waited to break down the door and eliminate 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos as he believed the situation had gone from active shooter to “a barricaded subject”.

CNN correspondent Shimon Prokupecz tweeted a video showing officers telling media to vacate their property, a public building housing the administrative offices of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District.
Shimon Prokupecz tweeted a video showing officers telling the media to leave their property, a public building housing the administrative offices of the Uvalde Independent School District.
Twitter/shimonpro

“Looking back, where I’m sitting now, of course, it wasn’t the right decision, it was the wrong decision, period,” McCraw said.

As police waited for a tactical unit to arrive, terrified children were calling 911 from inside the two interconnected classrooms where the killer had locked the doors, McCraw said.

An Uvalde officer checked the press credentials of two Post staffers and a team from NBC News on Thursday.
An Uvalde officer checked the press credentials of two Post staffers and a team from NBC News on Thursday.
Twitter/shimonpro

The US Department of Justice is investigating the response.

Cops clashed with the press even before revelations about how officers reacted to the May 24 shooting.

The very next day, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott held a press conference at Uvalde High School which was interrupted by Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who is challenging him in this year’s election. O’Rourke accused Abbott of being pro-gun and was escorted away. Members of the press who followed him were not let in, with state troopers claiming the principal made the appeal to prevent media from returning because there was “a security problem”.

Banned media were only allowed to return to collect their belongings after the conference was over.

Uvalde relied on state police and officers from other departments. Most interactions with members of the media have been with officers from the Pharr, San Juan, Conroe and Mathis police departments. An Edinburgh police car was parked outside the district office on Thursday and another car from Conroe was in the back.

The Post asked an Edinburgh officer why the department was providing patrols more than a week after the massacre,

“Not all media like you respect boundaries,” she said. “We’ve had YouTubers causing trouble, from what I hear.”


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