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The families of 19 victims in the Uvalde elementary school shooting in Texas have filed a lawsuit against nearly 100 state police officers for the botched law enforcement response, two years after the tragic incident on May 24, 2022. A $2 million settlement with the city has also been agreed upon, promising higher standards and better training for local police. This lawsuit is part of several seeking accountability for the delayed response by over 370 officers who waited over 70 minutes before confronting the shooter.

The Justice Department released a 600-page report in January detailing various failures in training, communication, leadership, and technology that day. The families’ lawsuit highlights how state troopers did not follow their active shooter training and did not confront the shooter promptly. Students and teachers inside the school were following lockdown protocols, leaving them reliant on law enforcement, which ultimately failed to respond effectively.

Terrified students inside the classroom called 911 as parents begged officers to intervene, with the sound of gunshots audible in the background. The families’ attorney emphasized the failure of law enforcement to take appropriate action on the day of the shooting, calling it a betrayal of the families and the lives lost. A criminal investigation into the police response is ongoing, with a grand jury convened this year to investigate the matter further.

Another lawsuit against various entities seeks at least $27 billion in damages and class-action status for survivors. The families agreed to a $2 million settlement with the city to avoid bankrupting the community and to allow for healing. The settlement includes new standards for police officers, an annual day of remembrance, a memorial in the city plaza, and support for mental health services for the families and the Uvalde community.

The police response to the mass shooting has faced criticism and scrutiny from state and federal authorities, with reports highlighting failures in training, communication, and leadership. While a report commissioned by the city defended the actions of local police, victims’ families expressed frustration at the lack of accountability from the law enforcement agencies involved. The settlement with the city is seen as a first step towards rebuilding trust in the systems that failed to protect the families affected by the tragedy.

Veronica Luevanos, who lost her daughter and nephew in the shooting, emphasized the importance of the settlement as a good faith effort to address the failures that led to the tragic events two years ago. The families hope that the lawsuit and settlement will bring about positive change in law enforcement training and response protocols to prevent similar incidents in the future. As the community continues to heal, the families seek justice and accountability for the lives lost in the Uvalde elementary school shooting.

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