Uvalde Parents Settle With City for $2 Million, File New Suit Against Texas DPS

Uvalde school shooting police response

No sooner had the city of Uvalde, Texas settled with the families of the victims of the 2022 Robb Elementary School murders — for $2 million — than the families announced they’d filed of a new lawsuit. This latest action is against the Texas Department of Public Safety, listing 92 individual troopers who opted to stay safely outside the danger zone of Robb Elementary that day for approximately 77 minutes while children were being murdered and dying inside.

The inaction of law enforcement officers — from the school district, the city, and the state — on that day has been heavily criticized and is still being investigated criminally by Uvalde District Attorney Christina Mitchell’s office.

USA Today reported the broad details of the newest lawsuit:

Families of the victims of the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Wednesday announced a $2 million settlement with the city, as well as a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Public Safety and 92 named troopers who were involved in the mishandled law enforcement response to one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.

The suit contends the officers received active shooter training but failed to follow national standards and best practices.

Interestingly enough, part of the suit against the city that was settled includes a note that “city leaders promised higher standards and better training for local police.”

Families of the victims spoke to news outlets . . .

“Nearly 100 officers from the Texas Department of Public Safety have yet to face a shred of accountability for cowering in fear while my daughter and nephew bled to death in their classroom,” Veronica Luevanos, whose daughter Jailah and nephew Jayce were killed, said in a statement.

The lawsuit will face some major hurdles considering the realities of qualified immunity, which protects public officials such as law enforcement officers from lawsuits like this one.

It isn’t often I find myself agreeing with lawsuits filed in the aftermath of school shootings, but I can’t help but back this latest lawsuit (while vehemently disagreeing with others like the suit filed against Daniel Defense).

The second anniversary of the armed active killer murdering children at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas is Friday, May 24. In the investigation in the aftermath of the shooting, Texas DPS Director Steve McCraw pronounced the police response that day an “abject failure.”

“The officers had weapons; the children had none,” McCraw told the Tribune in an interview. “The officers had body armor; the children had none. The officers had training; the subject had none. One hour, 14 minutes and 8 seconds. That’s how long children waited, and the teachers waited, in Room 111 to be rescued.”

Don’t expect this latest lawsuit to make it to a trial. The $2 million settlement announced today with the city will probably be dwarfed by the settlement the parents ultimately reach with the state. It’s hard to conceive of an amount that could possibly be enough.


3 Responses

  1. The failings of law enforcement in this sad story were epic, and those responsible need to be held accountable.

    However, the plaintiffs are going to face *huge* problems overcoming a qualified immunity defense in a lawsuit against DPS. While I don’t like qualified immunity (especially when invoked by non-LE bureaucrats to cover their non-urgent decisionmaking screwups), it’s currently the law. (That’s probably why the City of Uvalde got off for the relatively cheap sum of $2 million — for a case of this magnitude, that’s essentially a nuisance / PR settlement by its insurers.)

    I suspect that there will be more than a bit of political pressure for the State of Texas to pay something, but from a hard-nosed litigation evaluation perspective, the case is anything but a slam dunk.

  2. Is that 2 million divided up with *all* the parents of the dead kids? 🙁

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *