Settlement reached in Uvalde family dispute, paving the way for rebuilding trust

Nineteen families who lost or had their loved ones injured in the Uvalde, Texas, mass shooting have recently announced that they have reached a settlement with the city and county of Uvalde.

Veronica Luevanos expressed her frustration and disappointment over the lack of accountability from law enforcement agencies and officers who played a part in the tragic loss of her daughter, Jailah, and nephew, Jayce. After enduring two long years of pain, she welcomed the recent settlement as a positive step towards rebuilding trust in the system that failed to protect them. She specifically acknowledged the City of Uvalde for making a genuine effort to address the issue and start the healing process.

Families are nearing the two-year anniversary of the tragic May 24, 2022, massacre at Robb Elementary School. During this devastating event, an 18-year-old gunman took the lives of 19 students and two teachers. In light of this, a settlement has been reached.

Law enforcement officers from Uvalde police, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Texas Department of Public Safety were among those who quickly responded to the sound of gunfire at Robb Elementary. However, it took them 77 minutes before they finally entered a classroom and neutralized the gunman.

“In a statement, attorney Josh Koskoff emphasized that for 77 minutes, the Uvalde Police Department’s 26 members did not take any action against an 18-year-old armed with an AR-15. The lack of any disciplinary measures, including firings, demotions, or transparency, has left the families eagerly awaiting a change. However, Koskoff acknowledged the importance of starting the healing process and commended the City for its commitments, recognizing them as a crucial step in that direction.”

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The families played an active role in the settlement with the city and county, working together to improve the Uvalde Police Department. As a result of their efforts, significant changes were implemented, including enhanced officer training and the establishment of a new “fitness for duty” standard for officers.

The settlement not only resolves the legal matters but also outlines several ways in which the city can support the community during the healing process. These include designating May 24 as an annual Day of Remembrance, establishing a committee to develop a permanent memorial funded by the city, and providing ongoing support for mental health services.

“At a news conference on Wednesday, Javier Cazares, whose 9-year-old daughter, Jackie, was tragically killed, expressed his deep concern about justice and accountability. He emphasized the need to finally take action and do what is right.”

The families will receive a total of $2 million from the city’s insurance coverage. The city decided not to pursue more money, as it could have led to bankruptcy, which the families did not want as they seek healing for the community.

According to Koskoff, the families of the victims have a strong attachment to their community and have no desire to leave. He emphasized that even if someone is a law enforcement officer, they should not avoid making eye contact with these families when they encounter them on the street.

“We express our eternal gratitude to the families of the victims for their collaboration with us over the past year in fostering a sense of healing and unity within the community, while also paying tribute to the lives and legacies of those we sadly lost,” stated the city.

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The families have also filed lawsuits against 92 Texas Department of Public Safety officers, alleging that these officers were trained to prioritize stopping the killing, followed by stopping the dying, and then evacuating the injured individuals.

Luevanos expressed her frustration, stating that about 100 officers from the Texas Department of Public Safety have not faced any consequences for their actions. She emphasized that these officers were paralyzed by fear as her daughter and nephew tragically lost their lives in their classroom.

The defendants in the lawsuit include the Uvalde School District and several of its employees, such as the former principal and former school district police chief.

According to the families, the school’s lockdown protocols, which involve turning off the lights, locking the doors, and remaining quiet, placed teachers and children in a situation where they were completely dependent on law enforcement for assistance.

Attorney Koskoff stated that the families also intend to file a lawsuit against the federal government. He pointed out that there were more than 150 federal officers present at the school, and they appeared to stand idle for 77 minutes before one or more officers finally entered the room.

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