Police and bikers told members of the press covering the Thursday ceremony outside Rushing-Estes Knowles Mortuary that they would be arrested for stepping outside of designated areas, according to the Chronicle. Even though members of the media were covering the memorial from a distance, bikers physically obstructed cameras and followed reporters, the paper also reports.
In the piece, Chronicle reporter Julian Gill characterized the scene as a reflection of the "community’s exhaustion from a barrage of media attention" since a shooter last week took the lives of 19 children and two teachers.
Even so, in a tweet, Gill appeared to vent his own frustration, saying he was "trying to be respectful with everyone's fresh grief." He added: "Police still thought it was necessary to coordinate with bikers to order reporters to 'stay on the sidewalk' and physically obstruct cameras. Really?"
In a second tweet, Gill accused the Uvalde police of "clearly coordinating" the activity: "The cops huddled with them, directed them where to go and had friendly conversation."
I’m here in Uvalde, trying to be respectful with everyone’s fresh grief. Standing outside while a funeral is going on. Police still thought it was necessary to coordinate with bikers to order reporters to “stay on the sidewalk” and physically obstruct cameras. Really? pic.twitter.com/bZ6dSugcEL— Julian Gill (@JulianGi11) June 2, 2022
One bike club member, who declined to give her name, told the Chronicle she was part of a group called Guardians of the Children that was working with Uvalde police. The paper also identified other clubs including Thin Blue Line LEMC and Marines MC whose members attempted to corral the press.
Allen and Uvalde PD are here, and they were clearly coordinating. The cops huddled with them, directed them where to go and had friendly conversation. https://t.co/I9esTXoGw2— Julian Gill (@JulianGi11) June 2, 2022
The reported coordination of Uvalde police with the biker groups comes after CNN correspondent Shimon Prokupecz shared video Wednesday of law enforcement officials there threatening to charge members of the media with trespassing if they didn't leave the school district headquarters.
“Just so that you know, Uvalde PD is en route, and once they get here, they will start issuing criminal tresspasses for the property," one of the officers says in the clip.
Uvalde law enforcement officials have drawn scrutiny for their handling of last week's school shooting, the deadliest in state history.
During the bloodshed, parents accused officers of waiting outside the school instead of breaching the building to stop the perpetrator. After local and state officials gave contradictory statements about how police responded to the attack, the U.S. Justice Department announced it will conduct a review.
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