The board made its decision in a closed meeting that lasted nearly an hour and a half. Several members of the public cheered after the decision was announced. One person was heard repeatedly shouting, “We’re not done.”
Arredondo did not attend the meeting. His lawyer instead released a 17-page statement saying the district was not following legal process as he moved to fire Arredondo and that the police chief was concerned for his safety.
In the statement, which came less than an hour before the meeting was to start, Arredondo’s attorney, George Hyde, argued that a letter from the district suspending him without pay does not count as a ‘complaint’. official required by law to consider termination.
“Chief Arredondo will not participate in his own unlawful and unconstitutional public lynching and respectfully requests the Board to immediately reinstate him, with all back pay and benefits and to close the complaint as unfounded,” the statement concluded.
Hyde said that due to death threats, Arredondo did not believe the board meeting would be safe.
The meeting began with comments from members of the public, some of whom called on Arredondo, who was on unpaid leave, to return his badge.
Council members said Texas law requires the chief’s employment status hearing to be held behind closed doors. Upon returning from that private meeting, a board member read a motion to immediately terminate Arredondo’s uncertified contract and another to ratify his furlough status.
In his statement for Arredondo, Hyde says the chief was not told between June 22 and July 19 of a school district investigation and was not asked to participate or make a statement.
“The district cannot withhold its information for months, present only what it finds to support the superintendent, and then release it without a reasonable opportunity to review it, and the opportunity to uncover evidence of impeachment. or optional completeness.”
Report describes ‘nonchalant approach’ by law enforcement
The 77-page report describes “a nonchalant overall approach” from the 376 local, state and federal law enforcement officers who responded and were at the school.
“There is no one to whom malicious or malicious intent can be attributed,” the report said. “Instead, we found systemic failures and grossly poor decision-making.”
The report also notes that others could have taken command. Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training “teaches that any law enforcement officer can assume command, someone must assume command, and an incident commander can transfer responsibility as and as an incident develops,” the report said.
“This did not happen at Robb Elementary, and the lack of effective incident command was a major factor in other vital actions not being taken,” according to the report.
Following heavy criticism, Uvalde School District Superintendent Hal Harrell placed Arredondo — who has served as the school district’s police chief since March 2020 — on leave from his position as school police chief on 22 June.
‘Too little, too late’
At a meeting on Monday evening, the school board met to consider complaints from parents asking for the superintendent’s removal. The board passed a motion that, in part, requires the superintendent to provide the board with names or organizations that could review the district’s administrative accountability practices.
“Come on Wednesday,” Cross said as he and others left Monday’s meeting. “I’m sick of this bullshit.”
CNN’s Andy Rose, Eric Levenson, Rosa Flores, Matthew J. Friedman, Christina Maxouris, Shimon Prokupecz and Rebekah Riess contributed to this report.