A year after the Uvalde school shooter left 19 children and 2 adults dead, parents who have been demanding answers and accountability finally got access to the footage.
CNN made the videos accessible to the parents in a rare move and after having previously made 911 calls available to the public.
The outlet acknowledged that it should be the law enforcement agency’s job to release such information and footage to the families, but District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee has kept families and community members in the dark as the investigation persists.
“Knowing that the families ― along with other media organizations ― were being blocked from records that would normally be public, CNN made the exceptional decision to let the families watch,” the outlet wrote in a Sunday article. The story comes ahead of an episode discussing the matter on “The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper” on Sunday night.
The Robb Elementary School massacre, the second deadliest school shooting in recorded U.S. history, occurred on May 24, 2022, when an 18-year-old gunman breached the school without confrontation from nearly 400 police officers on the scene for 77 minutes.
As local outlet My San Antonio reported in March, many parents hoped that the Texas Department of Public Safety would release the video footage of the shooting. But the Uvalde district attorney argued that releasing the footage would hamper the investigation and make it harder to press criminal charges.
Attorneys for several news organizations seeking records from DPS argued that the DA did not make it clear how the investigation would be harmed by releasing the footage and is instead withholding valuable information from the public.
In an email to HuffPost, the DA referred to the situation as “disconcerting” and only a piece of a larger investigation.
She added: “That type of sensationalist journalism only serves to retraumatize victims, a community and adversely affect the rule of law. Flashing disclaimers in front of such abominable videos serves only to highlight the lack of ethical and moral accountability. ”
The Texas Department of Public Safety did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
The shooting, which occurred in the pro-gun state of Texas, has added to the discourse about mass shootings and gun violence, but it also opened up conversations about what and how media outlets should cover these events.
Prokupecz, who will be speaking with parents, students and lawmakers on Sunday night’s episode of “The Whole Story,” said in the press release that he hopes his coverage and that of other CNN journalists add to the conversation advocating for protecting people from mass shootings.
“It is without a doubt one of the toughest stories I’ve reported on in my career, and it’s been a persistent and somber reminder of the devastating impact that gun violence can have on innocent people and communities,” he continued.
After watching a portion of the footage, one father had to step away.
“Every f**king cop that was there needs to turn their badge in. Every f**king cop in Uvalde needs to turn their badge in,” he said, according to CNN.
It’s not clear when the DPS investigation into the shooting will conclude. The Justice Department is also reviewing law enforcement’s response to the shooting.