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EDITORIAL/Legal Loophole: Uvalde officials move to deny access to shooting information

June 13, 2022 at 10:00 p.m.

Texas law allows law enforcement agencies to refuse to release records in criminal cases where there have been no conviction.

The idea is to protect suspects who may be innocent. But police sometimes use a loophole in the Public Information Law to keep from allowing the press and even victims or their families access to information they, for whatever reason, don't want the public to know.

The loophole comes from the state Attorney General's Office, which decided the law applies even when a suspect is dead. Such as a mass shooter who commits suicide at the scene or is killed by law enforcement.

That's the case now in Uvalde, Texas. The media and victims' families have a lot of questions about police conduct during the mass shooting last month at Robb Elementary Schoo that claimed the lives of 19 students and two teachers. The suspect was shot to death by police.

Authorities haven't been forthcoming with answers. Sometimes what answers are given are conflicting.

Attorneys representing the city released a letter last week saying they are seeking an AG's opinion to justify denying access to a number of records requested by the media, specifically citing the loophole.

This is not what the law intended. It was supposed to protect the innocent, not allow law enforcement to cover its backside.

It's time the Legislature sets this right. The families of those who lost their lives in Uvalde and the public as a whole have a right to the full story. Not just what the city and police want them to know.

Print Headline: EDITORIAL/Legal Loophole: Uvalde officials move to deny access to shooting information


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