Disgraced Ex-Chief of Uvalde PD Wins Appeal, Enables Disgusting Possibility

Ex-Uvalde, Texas, Police Chief Pete Arredondo was fired for cause after his department’s failed response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, but now he has been handed a victory in court and will have the blot on his record expunged. The ruling does not entitle Arredondo to get his job back, but it does allow him to claim that he has a clean record should he try to seek another job in law enforcement or a related field, according to ABC News reporter Patrick Linehan. Arredondo, of course, was the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief when a crazed gunman shot and killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary in May of last year. The chief was criticized for his timid response to the crime as it was ongoing, especially the decision to leave officers standing idle in the hallway as the killer holed up in a classroom with students and teachers. The former official was quickly fired by the Uvalde School Board for the department’s failed response to the tragedy. Upon his firing, the district filed its termination report detailing Arredondo’s failings and the reason for his termination, as required by Texas state law. Arredondo’s firing was classified as “dishonorable” in the report filed with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. But inherent in the process is an appeal phase by which a fired officer can have the classification reconsidered. According to ABC, Arredondo filed his appeal a month after his firing — despite near universal criticism of his actions. And court documents now show that he won his case when a decision was filed at the end of January, which held that the former chief was entitled to have his termination classification upgraded to a less negative status. Arredondo repeatedly blasted his critics in the wake of his firing, calling opposition to his tenure as chief a “public lynching.” Indeed, Arredondo insisted that he should have been immediately reinstated once he was fired. “Chief Arredondo will not participate in his own illegal and unconstitutional public lynching and respectfully requests the Board immediately reinstate him, with all backpay and benefits and close the complaint as unfounded,” Arredondo’s attorney, George E. Hyde, wrote in a statement in August of last year. The three classifications are dishonorable, general and honorable, but since the court documents are confidential, it is not known what new classification Arredondo sought in his case. The arguments he made to justify his appeal have also not been made public. But it seems likely that he asked for a “general” classification. Still, even though he was fired for cause, the quick appeal in Arredondo’s favor also shows that district officials did not appear in court to oppose the appeal, ABC noted. One reason is likely that the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Department was investigated and then disbanded last October, so there was no official directly responsible for replying to the appeal. The police district was recently reconstituted and is now being administered by Interim Police Chief Josh Gutierrez, who is rebuilding the agency. The San Antonio Express blasted the ex-law officer’s victory as just another example of a “lack of communication and transparency” plaguing the school district. “It is a lack of communication and transparency that allowed fired Uvalde school district Police Chief Pedro ‘Pete’ Arredondo to quietly appeal and win an upgrade to his discharge designation,” the outlet wrote. “The decision to upgrade Arredondo’s discharge should be rescinded. While he’s not to be fully blamed for the mass shooting at Robb Elementary, his inaction on May 24 was definitely not honorable,” it added. Interim Chief Gutierrez is also asking for a re-do. Gutierrez claims that he and the school district “missed emails” and were unaware that they were supposed to fight Arredondo’s appeal. And now they want a second chance to get the former chief’s termination status to retain its “dishonorable” classification, according to KENS. Gutierrez has filed a motion for a rehearing of Arredondo’s appeal and is asking the state to “uphold the original discharge.” It would certainly be the better outcome to have Arredondo’s appeal reversed and his termination status to remain set at “dishonorable.” After his massive failures, this man does not belong anywhere near the field of law enforcement. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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