Hundreds of protesters showed up Thursday morning in front of Dallas City Hall to remember George Floyd and protest his death at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer.
Unlike some previous protests of raucous rage when Dallas police launched teargas canisters and crowd-control smoke bombs at nighttime marchers, these daylight city hall mourners stood quietly — because the protest invited silent mourners.
— BILL ZEEBLE (@bzeeble) June 4, 2020
It was hot, over 90 degrees by 11 a.m. Some stood in the shade under trees. Many held hand-made signs.
One protester, a white women, held one that read “I’d rather offend my white friends than bury my black friends! #Blacklivesmatter.”
One cardboard sign just listed names: George Floyd. Breona Taylor. Botham Jean. Ahmaud Arbery. Trayvon Martin. Atatiana Jefferson.
Logan Garcia, a first time protester in 7th grade, held a sign that said “Without Justice Freedom is an empty promise.”
"Racism is terrible thing and I don't know why it’s gone on for so long," Garcia said. "I’m out here because I think that if we don’t say anthying it won’t stop."
There was a smaller group of faith-based protesters from the Victory Outreach ministry. They said they protest in front of city hall one day every year about trafficking victims, who typically are women. They did not change their focus, but added to it, saying today’s young generation has had it and are speaking up and speaking out over racial injustice they’ve seen in recent years.
One member said young people are tired of seeing cities torn up and politicians turning to the same places for answers but finding none.
The event was much different than a demonstration Monday that ended with police firing smoke bombs at a crowd of over 600 on Dallas’ Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.
The Dallas Police department announced Thursday that charges “at-large” will not be filed against the demonstrators who were detained using zip ties and shuttled off the bridge in vehicles.
“I strongly believe we made the right decisions to deter and disperse the large crowd on the bridge,” Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall said in a statement. “We had to protect the protesters from vehicular injury on a roadway still open to traffic. It was critically important to process protesters and then safely reopen the bridge.”
Dallas Police said the decision not to charge the protesters was made after consulting with City Manager T.C. Broadnax and other city leaders as well as police department leadership.
“Today’s decision is not permission to damage businesses or commit this kind of action in our city,” Hall said. “If you break the law, especially serious acts such as brick-throwing, looting, Molotov cocktails, as well as behavior that risks the lives of peaceful protesters as well as our officers, you will be arrested because we will not tolerate that kind of behavior.”
Broadnax and Hall both said they are deeply encouraged the demonstrations have been peaceful in the last few days.
Protesters also marched around Fort Worth City Hall Thursday afternoon while the Fort Worth City Council decided to let the city's curfew expire at its meeting.
Steven Hicks said he's been to almost every protest since they started last week, and that he also protested after former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean shot and killed Atatiana Jefferson in her home last year.
“I saw how these people were rooting for somebody that couldn’t root for themselves, because she was killed, and she needed a voice,” he said.
Hicks said other victims of police violence still need that voice, and protesters will keep disrupting society until they see change.
Space in the chambers was limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, but dozens of people stood up before the council to criticize how the city has handled recent protests.
Keevion Candler said he wanted to be a police officer — but now he’s changed his mind. pic.twitter.com/Wzlr6cnO1z
— Miranda Suarez (@MirandaRSuarez) June 4, 2020
Fort Worth resident Rod Smith was one of them. He told the council tear gas won't stop them.
"We are seeds. What you did the other day when he threw tear gas on them, we use that, we can use that as water,” Smith said. “It waters the seeds that we are."
A curfew remains in effect in Dallas from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.