Newly released video of a hallway outside classrooms at a Texas elementary school where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers is renewing questions about police accountability.
Nearly 80 minutes of surveillance video from Robb Elementary School on May 24 show heavily armed police officers lingering in the hallway for more than an hour before confronting the gunman. Some Uvalde residents at a City Council meeting on Tuesday shouted questions about whether officers on the scene were still on the payroll after the video was made public.
Local and state officials have urged to let investigations play out.
There were signs that impatience was growing as in the hours after the video was released early and published in an Austin, Texas newspaper, residents shouted from their seats at a City Council meeting on Tuesday, demanding to know if police who were at the shooting were still on the force or getting paid. Council members chose not to respond to the questions. “What about the cops?” someone could be heard yelling.
Law enforcement are given formidable legal protections, set up with the idea that their roles often require life-and-death judgment calls while under high pressure. Officers’ hesitation was captured on the security camera video, and policing experts say it’s difficult to know how likely the police are to face discipline or legal fallout from the events at Robb Elementary.
“It’s going to come down to what would a reasonable police officer have perceived in that moment,” said Bowling Green State University criminologist Philip Stinson.
As the Associated Press reported, the footage from a hallway camera inside the school shows the gunman entering the building with an AR-15-style rifle and includes 911 tape of a teacher screaming, “Get down! Get in your rooms! Get in your rooms!”