(UVALDE, Texas) — The Texas Department of Public Safety on Thursday released a pair of videos depicting an altercation between one of its troopers and a visibly anguished mother of one of the students who died in last year’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, after an edited version of the dispute erupted on social media earlier this week.
The incident, which happened on Wednesday during a student-led walkout in protest of gun violence, reflects a distraught community’s simmering distrust of law enforcement after officers waited 77 minutes to confront the gunman who killed 19 students and two teachers on May 24, 2022.
By sharing the video publicly, law enforcement officials said they hope the additional context and transparency will help mend divisions between police and the community they are tasked to protect.
A video shared late Wednesday on social media begins with Ana Rodriguez, whose 10-year-old daughter Maite was among those killed in the rampage at Robb Elementary School, attempting to enter the elementary school to retrieve her son.
After a student inside the building opens the door, Rodriguez enters — but is immediately confronted by a Texas state trooper, who physically forces her out of the school.
“When your daughter is murdered on school grounds, then you talk to me sir,” Rodriguez tells the trooper.
The video quickly ricocheted across social media, overwhelmingly attracting sympathy for Rodriguez and generating outrage toward at the trooper. State Sen. Roland Gutierrez slammed the trooper’s conduct and called for a probe.
“I am demanding a full investigation of this incident, with bodycam footage to be released immediately,” Gutierrez tweeted. “This is a disgrace and is no way to treat a grieving family.”
By Thursday afternoon, the Texas Department of Publican safety had fulfilled Gutierrez’ request. Officials released an 11-minute clip from the trooper’s body-worn camera and a seven-minute video taken from a hallway surveillance camera, and a department spokesperson said they were looking into the matter.
The two videos show the moments leading up to the physical altercation. Rodriguez is first seen in the hallway of the school shouting at the trooper — although the trooper’s camera initially does not record any audio of the interaction.
In a statement obtained by ABC News, the trooper who confronted Rodriguez said that Rodriguez initially complied with his orders to check in with a secretary, pursuant to school protocol — but then “attempted to make her way into the auditorium and began yelling loudly, yelling ‘Walk-out’ several times.”
According to the body-worn camera, the officer then placed his hand on Rodriguez’ back and led her toward an exit. Rodriguez can then be heard banging on the door from outside, in an apparent attempt to get back in.
When another parent waiting for their child opens the door for Rodriguez, the trooper returns to the entryway, grabs Rodriguez around the arms and shoulders, and physically forces her back outside.
A moment later, the trooper returned to the doorway and allowed Rodriguez into a nearby office, where Rodriguez again presented her identification to the secretary and asked to retrieve her son. While she waited for her son, the trooper approached her and asked, “Can I please talk with you?”
“No, you may not,” Rodriguez replied. “You wouldn’t understand. Was your daughter shot up? No she was not f—ing shot! So this means something to me. It means something to me for my son to be able to protest.”
The Uvalde School District did not respond to comment about the incident, but a spokesperson released a statement saying the larger walk-out was an unsafe demonstration.
Hundreds of students throughout the district participated in the walk-out on Wednesday, marching to the memorial in the Uvalde town square and waiting 77 minutes, the length of time it took police to subdue the gunman during the attack last May.
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