Uvalde School Board Fires Police Chief in Unanimous Vote
- By Matt Jones
- August 25, 2022
The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District board has voted unanimously to fire Pete Arredondo, the police chief who helmed law enforcement’s response to the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School. The school board made the decision in a 90-minute hearing on Wednesday, Aug. 24. The termination is effective immediately, and the board also determined that there was “good cause” for him not to receive pay for his time on administrative leave, according to national news.
Families of the victims attended the hearing—some wearing T-shirts with photos of their deceased children, others carrying signs that read “If you did not do your job, give up your badge” and “We want accountability,” according to ABC News. ABC News also reports that the audience left the meeting with no display of cheers or applause, only scattered chants of “We’re not done.”
Arredondo did not attend the Wednesday evening meeting, stating fears over his safety. The hearing was originally scheduled for last month but was cancelled “in conformity with due process requirements, and at the request of his attorney,” according to ABC News.
Arredondo’s attorney released a 17-page statement the day of the hearing that read, in part, “Chief Arredondo will not participate in his own illegal and unconstitutional public lynching and respectfully requests the Board immediately reinstate him, with all backpay and benefits and close the complaint as unfounded,” according to NPR.
Investigations into the shooting that left 21 people dead found that Arredondo co-wrote the district’s active shooter plan and assigned himself the position of incident commander. As many as 376 law enforcement officers responded to the scene, but more than an hour elapsed before any of them breached the classroom door to confront the shooter. Arredondo has maintained the position that he was not aware he was in charge.
According to an investigative report into the shooting by the Texas House of Representatives, “[A]s events unfolded, he failed to perform or to transfer to another person the role of incident commander. This was an essential duty he had assigned to himself in the plan mentioned above, yet it was not effectively performed by anyone.” The report also describes a consensus of witness reports that responding officers “assumed that Chief Arredondo was in charge, or that they could not tell that anybody was in charge of a scene described by several witnesses as ‘chaos’ or a ‘cluster.’”