UVALDE – On Friday night, KPRC 2 Legal Analyst Brian Wice referenced potential criminality in the calling for a thorough investigation into law enforcement during the massacre in Uvalde.
“When you look at what these officers didn’t do against that backdrop, I am telling you there needs to be a full and fair investigation as to whether or not they were incompetent or criminal,” said Wice.
Then on Sunday, the Department of Justice announced it was coming in at the request of Uvalde’s Mayor Don McLaughlin to do a Critical Incident Review.
“My understanding is the DOJ’s mandate is limited. It is devoted solely to determining what went wrong so that we can attempt to make sure that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past in the future,” said Wice.
But what does this mean in terms of exposing any potential criminality if it rises to such a level? Can the DOJ act?
“They’ve got no skin in the game in terms of determining whether Chief Peter Arrendondo and his men crossed the line from monumental incompetence to criminality,” said Wice.
Without jurisdiction, Wice said criminality officially would have to be determined by others, including the Texas Rangers or the Attorney General.
Greg Friman is part of the faculty at Sam Houston State University and a retired HPD Captain. He also has experience in DOJ Investigations.
“It’s the whole weight of the federal government coming in on that agency,” said Friman, who adds the DOJ will leave no stone unturned with their review.
There are still many questions over how nearly 20 officers in a hallway outside two classrooms responded during the rampage. The event went from an active shooter to a barricaded suspect with Uvalde’s school district’s Chief Peter Arrendondo in command. It was a move that was questioned by officials and parents who lost their loved ones. Friman says officers on the scene had the power to go against the incident commander’s orders if compelled to do so.
“If the officers felt that this was a life-saving issue, they needed to go in, and they were going to counterman that order on the scene. They could have done that absolutely if they felt the need to do it at that time,” said Friman.
The DOJ says they will be transparent with their review and release it once it is completed.