Republicans are falsely accusing Uvalde police chief of orchestrating shooting for 'political purposes'

Republicans are falsely accusing Uvalde police chief of orchestrating shooting for 'political purposes'
Uvalde, Texas School Police Chief Pete Arredondo (screenschot/WFAA/YouTube).

Right-wing Republicans are spreading an untrue conspiracy theory that Pete Arredondo — the school district police chief who has been criticized for not neutralizing the recent elementary school mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas — is a donor to President Joe Biden and deliberately allowed children to die in order to help secure federal firearm reforms.

Disqualified Republican House Candidate Robby Starbuck began the theory by posting a screenshot of Arredondo’s seeming $100 donation from April 2020 to the Biden campaign. The only problem: The donation was made by a different person with the same name (that is, not the police chief), according to the watchdog Twitter account Patriot Takes.

Nevertheless, Starbuck’s lie has been shared by others on social media, including the massively influential right-wing social media figure DC Draino.

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Draino has worsened the lie by implying that the police chief may have deliberately allowed the 19 children and two teachers killed in the shooting to die for “political purposes.”

“Arredondo… lied about trying to open the classroom door and told heavily armed officers to stand down while the shooter was in the classroom with kids for over an hour, [the police chief] previously made a small political donation to Beto O’Rourke in 2017. Now Beto is running around Texas calling for guns to be seized. This tragedy gets more evil by the day,” Draino wrote via Twitter.

“Arredondo needs to be fired, criminally investigated, and every phone record and financial record of his needs to be subpoenaed to see if there were other political motivations in play that day,” Draino added on Instagram.

While Arredondo and the police force’s actions may have done more to stop the shooter’s violence, it’s baseless and cruel to think that such a small-dollar donor would allow mass child murder to further a political agenda.

Also, O’Rourke isn’t “running around Texas calling for guns to be seized,” as Draino claims. He’s supporting bipartisan and common-sense gun reforms that would keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, violent offenders, and mentally ill people. Such reforms have been supported by Republican voters nationwide and by 14 Republicans in the Senate.

The conspiracy theory shouldn’t be surprising, though. Even before the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, right-wingers have claimed that mass shootings are either “false flag operations” orchestrated by Democrats to bolster gun reform efforts or hoaxes fabricated by “crisis actors” to do the same.

Either way, it’s a gross distortion of people who support efforts to protect children from gun violence.

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