Local Leaders’ Reaction To Protests, Riots, Marches in the Dallas Area

protester holding George Floyd sign
Protesters held signs referencing the death of George Floyd. Photo by Amanda Rogers

Dallas Wants Change

DALLAS – Last week’s protests, marches and in some cases, riots continued into the weekend. From rallies carried out in front of the Dallas County Jail to demand the release of protesters, to the Dallas Police Department march this past Friday to protests in suburbs around the area, many people are coming out to let their voices be heard.

Governor Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster earlier this month for all Texas counties because of the protests.

In a written statement he explained “Every Texan and every American has the right to protest and I encourage all Texans to exercise their First Amendment rights.”

An Ongoing Need For Change

District 109 State Representative Carl Sherman said, “George Floyd represents one of to many unarmed and occasionally handcuffed black men in our country who suffer and sometimes die at the hands of those who would corrupt both the mission and culture of policing – which is aided, armed and abetted by a political elite.”

Sherman said this is not about backing the blue, not about police versus people, not about white versus black, not about right versus racist or evil versus good.

“The wrongdoer and the silent majority will inevitably share the same fate,” Sherman added. “The murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Botham Jean and the one thousand plus who are killed every year in America should haunt us like the image of Ahmaud Arbery life being taken in broad daylight as he jogged down the street. Remember the evil ones who killed 25-year-old Ahmaud were not charged with murder because police saw the video. They are in jail now because we saw the video. That means a culture has been set up that protects even when evidence is present of wrongdoing. There is no other country in the world where this happens. Thomas Jefferson said, ‘I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.’”
Sherman called on all American’s to wake up.

Anarchy vs. Protesting

Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price who has made several statements regarding the protesters said, “This is not protesting it is anarchy.”

Price, who is known in Dallas for his protesting in years past, was referring to the looting that took place in Dallas earlier last week.

Local Police Departments Address George Floyd’s Death

Glenn Heights Police Chief Vernell Dooley said in a statement “Everything involving that situation is contrary to what we believe in. What we do, what we know in law enforcement and how we treat people. Treat them with dignity and respect. Once Mr. Floyd was handcuffed, he should have been immediately stood up and checked his vital signs because there was some sort of struggle from what I understand. Then, given the proper way to be placed in the vehicle and then led away. As far as placing the knee on the neck, not only was that wrong it was horrific, tragic and it should have never been tolerated and as far as our agency as well as Ellis County I am sure, those types of tactics are never taught, never encouraged and never trained.”

Appalled At Deadly Technique Used

In DeSoto, police department Chief Joe Costa made a statement to the PD “I had a chance to review the video of the Minneapolis incident. I could not believe what I was seeing. It disturbed me very much, and, as I continued to watch, I became angry and more upset with not only the main officer, but with all the officers at the scene. As the recording played on, I continued to watch, in disbelief, with how casual all the officers were while Mr. Floyd lost his ability to breathe, became unconscious and then lifeless. I find it hard to believe that ANY police officer witnessing the actions of that one, would think that was acceptable, as none of the other officers intervened.

I am appalled at the fact that the one police officer used a deadly and unapproved technique and continued to apply his knee to the neck of Mr. Floyd even after Floyd was visibly unconscious and no one stepped up to stop. I am lost for words with the fact that none of those other officers took any initiative and took control to remove the officer from the neck of Mr. Floyd.

A Duty To Protect Every Citizen

If you have not seen this video, then I encourage each of you to watch in its entirety. It is attached below. Use this as a reminder of what not to do, as well as a reinforcement that each one of us has a duty to protect every citizen and to hold ourselves accountable for our own actions. This means that we need to watch out for one another, intervene when we need to and prevent bad things from happening whether those bad actions are by citizens or by other officers. We have a duty to react and protect everyone, and, watch out for each other!

The actions of these former Minneapolis officers do not reflect who we are as Police Officers, in Desoto, or throughout our profession.”

Prayers & Justice

A statement from the Tarrant County Republican Party Chairman Rick Barnes regarding the murder of George Floyd and the current state of race relations in America was “The unnecessary loss of any life is horrible, including that of George Floyd. His death is intolerable and entirely inconsistent with the just society within which we reside.

George Floyd and his family deserve our thoughts and prayers – while they also deserve justice to the fullest extent of the law.

Our United States is a nation of laws that must be followed by her citizens and guests, including those who have taken the oath to protect and serve. Racism must not be tolerated at any level. As fellow Americans we shall come together and unite as leaders, neighbors, friends, family, and peaceful protesters to restore law and order to our cities and towns. Where change is necessary, rhetoric is simply not enough.

We live in a great country, as brothers and sisters, in one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

A Call For Righteous Anger

Finally, faith leader Derek Jacobs, Lead Pastor at the Village United Methodist Church concluded “First let me say that I am deeply saddened by what is happening in our own community and across this nation with all of the rioting and looting. I understand that people are hurt, upset and angry including myself, as we should be, but I do not believe that violence or destroying our communities is the solution.

Instead of an anger that leads to destruction, I am calling us to have what I like to call a righteous anger. It is an anger that brings us together as a people across racial lines to stand for what is right. It is an anger that brings us together in peaceful protest, instead of destroying our communities. It is an anger that stops us from rioting and looting and instead moves us to come together in love and community. It is an anger that leads us to make sure we are all registered to vote. Then get up and go out to vote. We can create change without violence by making our voice heard through our vote.”