Justice Department to conduct ‘Critical Incident Review’ of Uvalde police response to school massacre

(Video: MSNBC)

With questions continuing to be raised about the abject failure of the police response to the Texas elementary school shooting during which 19 children and two adult teachers were massacred in their classroom, the federal government has made a big step towards becoming involved.

On Sunday, the Justice Department announced that it has undertaken a Critical Incident Review of law enforcement’s handling of the situation after it was acknowledged that members of the Uvalde Police Department waited for over an hour to breach the classroom while 18-year-old Salvador Ramos was cruelly and methodically murdering children, leading to much speculation that lives could have been saved had they acted sooner and more appropriately.

According to a statement from DOJ spokesman Anthony Coley, “At the request of Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, the U.S. Department of Justice will conduct a Critical Incident Review of the law enforcement response to the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24.”

“The goal of the review is to provide an independent account of law enforcement actions and responses that day, and to identify lessons learned and best practices to help first responders prepare for and respond to active shooter events. The review will be conducted with the Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing,” the statement reads. “As with prior Justice Department after-action reviews of mass shootings and other critical incidents, this assessment will be fair, transparent, and independent. The Justice Department will publish a report with its findings at the conclusion of its review.”

MSNBC’s Yasmin Vossoughian stressed that it was important to note that the Critical Incident Review was not an official investigation.

“I want to reiterate right, this is not them saying they are launching an investigation, this is an incident review by the department, an investigation could subsequently come next if in fact, they find that wrongdoing… if in fact, they find that the police department should have gone in sooner,” she said.

The Justice Department’s announcement came on a day when President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden traveled to Texas where they visited a makeshift memorial that was constructed outside of Robb Elementary School where the children were slaughtered as well as met with the grieving families of the victims.

Attorney General Merrick Garland briefly remarked on the tragedy from Harvard University where he was speaking at the school’s commencement ceremony on Sunday.

“As we gather today to celebrate this milestone in your life, we are also holding on to an enormous amount of grief because of yet another mass shooting at another school in our country,” Garland said. “An unspeakable act of violence has devastated families and the entire community in Uvalde, Texas. I know I speak for all of us here that our hearts are broken.”

Initial reports that the police acted accordingly with active protocols were inaccurate, leading Texas Governor Greg Abbott to express his extreme displeasure, saying that he was “livid” that he had been “misled” about the law enforcement response.

“And here’s my expectation, my expectation is that the law enforcement leaders that are leading the investigations which includes the Texas Rangers and the FBI,” Abbott said at a Friday press conference, “they get to the bottom of every fact with absolute certainty. There are people who deserve answers the most and those are the families whose lives have been destroyed, they need answers that are accurate and it is inexcusable that they may have suffered from any inaccurate information whatsoever.”

The Justice Department’s involvement could help with getting those answers.

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