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As if the senseless massacre of 19 innocent fourth graders, and two of their teachers in their classrooms in Uvalde Texas is not shocking enough, we now find out that the people whose job it was to keep the little kids safe, Uvalde police, are also caught up in a shocking story of their own–an attempted cover up. Norah Lopez, Executive Editor of the San Antonio Express-News, and President of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, said on CNN’s Reliable Sources(06/05/22) that police in Uvalde have apparently enlisted a biker group to harass and intimidate journalists trying to make sense of their(police)conflicting public statements regarding the shooting–a shocking development indeed. Needless to say, this Uvalde incident has also raised serious questions as to whether moving forward, the mainstream media should treat initial incident reports from police as Gospel truth, as it sadly happens often.
Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter opened the segment with these remarks:“The children had to hide from the attacker at Robb Elementary. They had to run, they had to jump, they had to hide so they would not be shot to pieces. And now it’s the police that are hiding. They are hiding from the press. They have to hide from what? The truth? The public getting the truth?”
Stelter continued:“I think everybody is pretty angry at this point, some truly shocking state of affairs in Texas, because at first the officials misled the public, shared incorrect information about the massacre, now they are not sharing much at all. In Uvalde this week, reporters have been stonewalled, doors shut in their faces, some even threatened with arrest just for standing on school property…Most outrageous of all, police apparently sent some bikers to intimidate journalists and prevent them from doing their jobs…”
Asked by host Stelter whether, given what has transpired thus far, the public can trust anything they are told by law enforcement in Uvalde, Norah Lopez responded(video at 1:31):“It’s become increasingly difficult for us to trust what authorities and what the police are telling us, and as a former police reporter, that’s just extraordinary to me that I’m actually saying that, because I’ve always trusted what the police was telling us, what the sergent on duty was telling you was happening. But every day it seems like we get one more little bit of information that directly contradicts what was initially told to us…They are trying to control the narrative, it looks like, keeping us away from talking to people who can help clarify the situation, and what’s happening on the ground.”
There’s no other way to interpret Norah Lopez’s statements on CNN(I’ll be happy to stand corrected of course) other than police in Uvalde are not only lying to the media about circumstances surrounding the horrific shooting at Robb Elementary School, but they are shockingly, also preventing the media from getting the truth directly from the grieving families. The extent of the attempted cover up is so severe, that they’ve even enlisted a biker group to intimidate and harass journalists who try to talk directly to the grieving families. This is truly shocking, even by Texas standards, where reports of these proxy harassment tactics by law enforcement are prevalent. For law enforcement in Uvalde to engage in such despicable conduct towards the media, knowing full well that the eyes of the world are currently on the city, speaks to a much deeper problem with Uvalde Police Department specifically, and Texas law enforcement generally–a culture of impunity.
Put another way. It’s one thing for Texas law enforcement to enlist some biker gang to harass some local whistleblower who say, sued the department, or exposed some shady dealings within the department(quite common in Texas), but when you start pulling such moves on the mainstream media, covering a huge national story, then reasonable people will agree that something is seriously wrong with the police department.
Norah Lopez specifically said regarding the biker harassment(video at 3:21):“The bikers are the ones who told us that they were there on the invitation of the police…We’ve tried to reach out to the police chief to register these concerns about how they are treating the media out there. We’ve not gotten a response from them yet. It has just been a really incredible difficult situation the way they are trying to control access…Reporters are getting told ‘You can’t be here, this is private property’…”
According to Nora, the bikers are apparently also discouraging families who are willing to speak to the media, from doing so. So they are not just harassing members of the media, they are also actively discouraging grieving families who wish to speak to the media from doing so. A sad state of affairs indeed.
Bottom line folks, proxy harassment and intimidation by Texas law enforcement, towards those who raise issues that cast them in negative light–lawsuits, grievances etc–is nothing new. Reasonable people will agree however, that when such despicable police tactics are directed towards members of the media, just trying to do their job covering a huge story of national/international significance–the senseless massacre of 19 elementary school children and two teachers in their classrooms–then the ethical breach is so flagrant, that it calls for an immediate dismissal of the officers involved. Simply put, a thorough investigation needs to be conducted into who in the Uvalde Police Department, brought in the bikers to harass journalists, after which the officers implicated need to be fired immediately.
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