Pro-Palestine demonstrators decry DPS response at Robb Elementary during UT Austin protest

Politicians and parents are responding to the chants claiming that DPS failed the victims of the Uvalde school massacre, with one tweeting “they ain’t wrong.”

SAN ANTONIO — The law enforcement response at the 2022 Robb Elementary School shooting, widely decried as a failure by high-profile reports and victims’ loved ones alike, briefly took center stage again Wednesday afternoon at another campus 160 miles away. 

As troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety were sent to UT Austin in response to a pro-Palestine protest, demonstrators audibly turned their attention to the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting in which 19 students were killed by a gunman over the course of 77 minutes. Video being widely circulated on X appeared to show a group chanting, “Who failed Uvalde? DPS!” 

DPS was one of various local and state law enforcement agencies that responded to the Robb Elementary shooting on May 24, 2022. Ninety-one DPS personnel were at the school when law enforcement waited over an hour before breaching the classroom where the gunman was. 

The agency fired two officers, Sgt. Juan Maldonado and Ranger Christopher Ryan Kindell, as a result of an internal investigation into the actions of seven troopers in Uvalde. Another, Trooper Crimson Elizondo, resigned before the investigation into her conduct was completed. 

The four remaining troopers were cleared of wrongdoing. 

Democratic State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, whose districts includes Uvalde, responded to the DPS presence at UT Austin, where 20 protesters were arrested at a demonstration organized by the Palestine Solidarity Committee. 

“DPS has pulled out all the stops to harass innocent college students, but wouldn’t lift a finger to help the victims in the Uvalde massacre,” Gutierrez wrote on X. “This state is broken.”

Brett Cross, one of the most outspoken advocates for accountability after his son was killed in the Robb Elementary shooting, shared a short message in response to the chants about Uvalde: “They ain’t wrong!!!”

UT officials said in a statement that the protest was not authorized. DPS said it responded to the campus “at the request of the university and at the direction of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, in order to prevent any unlawful assembly and to support UT Police in maintaining the peace by arresting anyone engaging in any sort of criminal activity, including criminal trespass.”

The Associated Press reported that on Wednesday hundreds of local and state police — including some on horseback and holding batons — shoved into protesters to get them off the main UT campus lawn, at one point sending some tumbling into the street. Officers pushed their way into the crowd to make arrests with zip ties.

A photographer covering the demonstration for Fox 7 Austin was in the push-and-pull when an officer yanked him backward to the ground, video shows. The station confirmed that the photographer was arrested. A longtime Texas journalist was knocked down in the mayhem and could be seen bleeding before police helped him to emergency medical staff.

Dane Urquhart, a third-year Texas student, called the police presence and arrests an “overreaction,” adding that the protest “would have stayed peaceful” if the officers had not turned out in force.

“Because of all the arrests, I think a lot more (demonstrations) are going to happen,” Urquhart said.

Police left after hours of efforts to control the crowd, and about 300 demonstrators moved back in to sit on the grass and chant under the school’s iconic clock tower.

The Israel-Hamas war was sparked by the unprecedented Oct. 7 raid into southern Israel in which militants killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted around 250 hostages, the Associated Press reported. Israel says the militants are still holding around 100 hostages and the remains of more than 30 others.

The war has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, according to local health officials, around two-thirds of them children and women.

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