Uvalde Officer Checks Phone With Punisher Lock Screen During Shooting—Video

Twitter users have seized on one moment from the surveillance footage showing the police response to Uvalde school shooting.

The video, published by the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE on Tuesday, is a disturbing 77-minute recording showing officers in body armor milling in the hallway of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24 while a gunman carried out a massacre inside a classroom.

The footage from a hallway camera inside the school shows in grim detail how heavily armed officers—some carrying rifles and ballistic shields—waited more than an hour before going inside and confronting the gunman. Nineteen children and two teachers were killed in the mass shooting.

Uvalde cop looks at phone
Surveillance footage inside Robb Elementary School captured the moment an officer checked his phone during the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022. Austin American-Statesman

And it showed how one officer, within a minute of officers first entering the school, pulled his phone out of his pocket with his left hand and looked at the screen while holding a gun in his right.

Eagle-eyed viewers spotted that the phone's lock screen features a version of Marvel antihero The Punisher's skull logo, which has been co-opted by police officers, military personnel and extremists in recent years.

Some took to Twitter to note the irony.

"That cop in Uvalde having his lock screen be the punisher logo and him being scared to take on an active shooter is truly the perfect encapsulation of how cops see themselves vs who they really are," Albert Jaragua Corado wrote in a tweet that has amassed more than 120,000 likes.

Matt Karolian said: "The cop at #Uvalde holding back and checking his phone, which features an American flag punisher background, is the perfect summation of modern day American policing."

Comedian and actor Patton Oswalt wrote: "Checkin my neat-o phone with the punisher logo (sooo cool!) while i'm hidin listenin to the kids gettin killed (punisher is so badass also i like deadpool & john wick)."

Terrance Carroll said: "This really makes my blood boil. This officer is checking his phone while kids & teachers are literally dying a few doors down. And if it this couldn't get any worse, his screensaver is the Punisher skull with a thin blue line."

Ethan Klein added: "If the punisher was real he'd hunt down all these MFers for letting kids die. Love that they think of themselves as some badass symbols of justice though. All this guy did was casually check his phone while gunfire went off to the cries of children. Very badass."

Gerry Conway, who co-created The Punisher, has previously hit out at officers adopting the character's skull logo during Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. The Punisher, also known as Frank Castle, is an ex-Marine who becomes a vigilante after the killing of his family and metes out lethal justice to the corrupt and criminal.

"The idea that police, even unofficially, would take on this character just seemed to me to be not only totally inappropriate but also shocking," Conway told Newsweek.

In response, he started a campaign to have artists of color redesign the skull logo for a T-shirt line called "Skulls for Justice."