Uvalde Mayor Condemns 'Chicken' Media for Releasing School Shooting Video

The mayor of Uvalde, Texas has described two media outlets as "chicken" after they released footage on Tuesday from the day of the deadly mass shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

Mayor Don McLaughlin criticized The Austin American-Statesman and ABC affiliate KVUE at a meeting of the city council on Tuesday for releasing school surveillance video from the shooting.

McLaughlin told the meeting: "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.

Another member of the city council said that it was "chickensh*t."

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, Jr.
The mayor of Uvalde, Texas hits out over released video footage from Robb Elementary School. In this combination image, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, Jr. speaks to residents during a city council meeting, Tuesday, July 12, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas and an inset of the school surveillance video from the shooting. AP

Video showing police officers in a hallway at Robb Elementary School has reignited anger about the law enforcement response following weeks of criticism.

However, there has also been criticism of the decision to release the footage publicly, including from parents and families of children who were killed, in part because families were not able to see the video first.

"This video needed to be released, but the families should've gotten to see it first," McLaughlin said.

City Councilman Ernest W. "Chip" King III said that releasing the footage was "chickensh*t" and criticized the media. A member of the audience replied: "What about the cops? Are they chickensh*t?" and King responded that they would "handle that."

The previously unseen footage shows the gunman entering the school with a long gun and school surveillance camera footage shows police gathered in a hallway inside the school and apparently waiting. The footage shows one officer checking his phone and another in body armor stopping to use hand sanitizer.

After some more waiting, police moved to confront the shooter in a burst of gunshots.

Newsweek has asked Mayor McLaughlin and Councilman King for comment.

There has been significant criticism of the law enforcement response to the Uvalde shooting on May 24. The police chief on the scene, Pete Arredondo, formally left the Uvalde city council at Tuesday's meeting as the council accepted his resignation.

He has been heavily criticized by the families for his actions during the shooting.

State Representative Dan Burrows is leading a legislative investigation into the shooting and had planned to share the footage with the families before its release.

"There's no reason for the families to see that. I mean, they were going to see the video, but they didn't need to see the gunman coming in and hear the gunshots. They don't need to re-live that, they've been through enough," McLaughlin said on Tuesday.

The mayor said that "all news agencies knew" the city was working with the Texas House committee investigating the event to release the footage to families.

People Pay Respects to an Uvalde Memorial
Siblings Kiley and Michael Regenthal pay their respects at a memorial in front of Robb Elementary School on June 17, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. The mayor of Uvalde has criticized media outlets for releasing footage from the May 24 shooting. Brandon Bell/Getty Images

McLaughlin later issued a statement following the meeting on Tuesday.

"I am angry that the victim's families and the Uvalde community's request to watch the video first before it was made public did not happen," the mayor said.

"I share Representative Burrows' disappointment, and believe that watching the entire video of law enforcement's response or lack of response is also very important to understanding what happened on May 24," McLaughlin went on.

"Regardless, it is unbelievable that this video was posted as part of a news story with images and audio of the violence of this incident without consideration for the families involved. I continue to stand behind my statements that full transparency and consideration for the families involved. I continue to stand behind my statements that full transparency and consideration for the families remains the priority as it relates to this incident," he said.