Dallas is only one fatal police shooting away from being another Ferguson, Mo., or Baltimore, demonstrators said Friday.
The march, organized by Mothers Against Police Brutality, attracted more than 100 people who gathered in front of the Frank Crowley Criminal Courts building about 5 p.m.
Collette Flanagan, a founder of the group, told the crowd that about two years ago, a Dallas police officer shot her son seven times, including once in the back.
“We have mothers who are having car washes and selling tamales so they can afford to bury their children,” Flanagan said. “The police won’t even talk to you after they kill your child. They won’t even give you a police report until they are sure that it lines up with the offending officers’ story.”
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The demonstration ended with participants walking to the Belo Mansion in downtown Dallas.
The timing of the march was to show solidarity with Baltimore residents and to support the announcement Friday that six Baltimore police officers would face charges in the death of Freddie Gray.
Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby said the officers illegally arrested Gray, cuffed his hands, shackled his feet and left him belly-down and unsecured on the floor of a police vehicle. They repeatedly denied him medical treatment, said Mosby, the top prosecutor for Baltimore.
Gray, 25, died of a spinal injury after his arrest on April 12. Mosby said the Baltimore medical examiner had ruled his death a homicide.
The Rev. Frederick Haynes III, pastor at Friendship West Baptist Church in Dallas, said that the same frustrations that exist in Baltimore exist in Dallas.
“There is power in going to the polls,” Haynes said. “The district attorney in Baltimore was only elected in November. We have to vote our hopes.”
MAPB co-founder, John Fullinwider, said the only real way to create change in police culture is to use constant, persistent, nonviolent action and pressure.
“It’s what took down the British empire and what took down the regime in South Africa,” Fullinwider said. “In a Western-style democracy, the only ethical tool that will work is sustained, nonviolent rebellion.”
An open carry group with the name Don’t Comply made an appearance downtown with about a dozen members. Don’t Comply members said they supported the “Black Lives Matter” movement and the MAPB protest.
“We’re here to protect their First Amendment rights,” said Murdoch Pizgatti, a Don’t Comply organizer. “We’re here supporting their right to free speech.”
Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752