Uvalde Parent Arrested for Speaking at Meeting

Brett Cross confronts Uvalde County commissioner Mariano Pargas
Brett Cross confronts Uvalde County commissioner Mariano Pargas during the county commissioner's meeting. | Image by Uvalde County Court

The father of one of the children who perished in the Robb Elementary School shooting almost two years ago was arrested Monday after he confronted an official at a commissioners court meeting over the latter’s lack of response on the day of the shooting.

Brett Cross’ son Uziyah Garcia was among the 18 children killed by Salvador Ramos in May 2022. Cross ripped into Uvalde County Commissioner Mariano Pargas, who was acting Uvalde police chief at the time of the shooting, during the Monday meeting, accusing Pargas of avoiding accountability.

“How is it that Mr. Pargas can have a motion to approve minutes when he hasn’t been here in the past two months? This is the first time he’s shown up in all of 2024,” Cross demanded of the commissioners. “Our taxes are paying the man’s salary who refuses to do anything. You couldn’t show up and see the children who survived. It’s kind of funny that when you do survive, why are you surrounded by cops?”

Though hundreds of law enforcement officers from various agencies arrived on the scene as Ramos stalked the halls of the school — some only a few minutes after Ramos entered the building — it was 77 minutes before Ramos was confronted and shot dead.

A Department of Justice investigation of the massacre concluded that Pargas, who should have commanded the response that day, failed to recognize that responders were facing an active shooter. Instead, responders proceeded as if faced with a barricaded subject.

“What are you scared of? I just find it really funny,” Cross continued.

An upset Cross proceeded to use coarse language while confronting Pargas about his lack of urgency that day.

“We already saw that when you got the phone call that there were eight or nine students still alive in that classroom, and you walked the f**k away,” Cross accused Pargas.

When Uvalde County Judge Bill Mitchell warned Cross to “watch your language,” Cross replied, “Language, language, language. My child is f**king dead! Dead!”

At this point, Mitchell can be seen motioning to someone whom he calls “Rick” in the back of the room, as Cross continues, “And you have the balls and the gall to stand up here in front of everybody …,” at which point Cross was cut off, and he can be heard saying, in shock, “I’m under arrest?”

A bailiff escorted Cross out of the courthouse, where he was arrested by police and charged with disrupting a meeting or procession, a misdemeanor, reported Fox 7 Austin.

Bill Piatt, a law professor at St. Mary’s University, told WFAA that based on the video, he believes Cross’ constitutional right to freedom of expression was violated.

“He was arrested for words,” said Piatt. “He did get loud, but he never threatened the commission. He didn’t direct that word at anybody. In other words, he didn’t say, ‘F you.’ He was using it as an expression of the deep emotion he feels.”

After Cross was booked and released, he accused the commissioners of using his outburst as an excuse to censor the victims’ parents.

“’Profane’ is burying your child. ‘Profane’ is picking out which cartoon character is going to be on their casket. ‘Profane’ is waking up every single day knowing your child isn’t here,” said Cross, according to WFAA. “The F word is not.”

The Uvalde police released a statement from Police Chief Daniel Rodriguez addressing the arrest, stating in part, “The Uvalde Police Department is committed to upholding the law and ensuring public safety in our community. As an assisting agency, our role in this incident was limited to providing support in the transport process. We are cooperating fully with relevant authorities to gather all pertinent information related to this case.”

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