Uvalde police try to block release of “highly embarrassing” records of shooting – National & International News – TUE 21Jun2022

Uvalde city and police attempt to block release of "highly embarrassing" police body cam footage, 911 calls, other police records of school shooting.

 

 

Uvalde police try to block release of “highly embarrassing” records of shooting. Today’s Jan 6. hearing: Trump’s pressure campaign on states. Ethiopia: As many as 320 dead in ethnic massacre.

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Uvalde police try to block release of “highly embarrassing” records of shooting

Each week that has passed since the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, TX, has brought new and ever more damning information to light about the police response to the shooting. Now the City of Uvalde and its two (city and school) police departments have engaged a private law firm to argue it should not have to release police documentation pertaining to the shooting to the public and media.

Media and members of the public have filed at least 148 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests since the shooting. The requested records include, but are not limited to, body camera footage, photos, 911 calls, emails, text messages, and criminal records. A letter from the city’s law firm is arguing that the city and police departments should not have to release these records because they are “highly embarrassing”, involve “emotional/mental distress”, and are “not of legitimate concern to the public”. 

Outraged citizens of Uvalde have demanded the resignation of Uvalde school police chief Pete Arredondo. Texas state legislators are conducting a probe of the police response on the day of the shooting. Arredondo’s cooperation with that probe has been minimal according to multiple sources. The Department of Justice has also said they will be investigating the police response.  

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What we know already

Considering all the revelations about the shameful police response to date, it’s difficult to imagine what those records contain that could be more damaging to the credibility and reputation of the Uvalde police force than what we already know: 

Police arrived with rifles, ballistic armor 19 minutes after gunman, did nothing for over an hour.

Uvalde school police chief says he didn’t know he was in charge at scene, left his radios behind “intentionally”.

Police drove by gunman twice before he entered the school, did not engage him.

Police did not even try to open classroom door that may have been unlocked. They also had a tool that would have broken open the locked door, which they did not use.

 

Today’s Jan 6. hearing: Trump’s pressure campaign on states to overturn election

The Congressional select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol will air its fourth televised hearing today. The focus of today’s broadcast will be Trump’s attempts to pressure officials in individual states into invalidating their own electoral results. One key witness the committee will hear from today is Georgia Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger.

On Jan. 2, Trump and several members of his staff called Raffensperger. That phone call was recorded. At one point, Trump said to Raffensperger, “What I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than [the 11,779 vote margin of defeat] we have, because we won the state”. During the call, Trump also made a thinly-veiled threat to Raffensperger, implying that Raffensperger might have committed a criminal offense and could face prosecution if he didn’t comply with Trump’s demand. The District Attorney for Fulton County (where Atlanta is located) Fani Willis has opened a criminal investigation regarding this call. Legal experts say Trump’s attempts to extort Raffensperger may have violated both state and federal laws.

Today’s hearings will also examine the Trump campaign’s efforts to have his supporters submit fake papers claiming to be official electors for their respective states. These fake electors were key in Trump’s strategy to pressure Mike Pence to refuse to certify the vote on Jan. 6.

The hearing will air at 1 p.m. ET/ 12 p.m. CT.

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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Ethiopia: As many as 320 dead in ethnic massacre

Saturday saw one of the bloodiest incidents in Ethiopia’s two year long civil war whic. Ethiopia is divided up into regions which are dominated by one of its many ethnic groups. Saturday’s attack took place in six small villages in Gimbi, a region dominated by the Oromo ethnic group. The gunmen targeted ethnic Amharas, killing between 260 and 320 civilians. Amharas are one of the country’s politically dominant ethnic groups, but are a minority in the Oromo region. In recent years, many Amharas have fled fighting further north in Amharic majority regions. 

There are disputes as to who was responsible for the attack. Some witnesses have blamed the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA). However, the OLA have denied involvement. Other witnesses believe that these were government troops dressed as OLA militants. Ethiopia’s central government has been fighting mostly with the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), based in the Tigray ethnic majority region in the north of the country. The Oromos have formed an alliance with the TPLF with the shared goal of resisting Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s push to concentrate greater power in the central government. Abiy is himself an Oromo, but he has largely allied himself with the politically powerful Amharas.

Until a few years ago, Ethiopia was a haven of peace in the region, despite sharing a border with Eritrea and Somalia, which have been hotbeds of militant, political and ethnic strife for decades. Now, over 5 million Ethiopians of various ethnic groups have been displaced by war and famine. Some have fled to other regions of Ethiopia, while others have fled to neighboring Sudan.

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