Denton police condemned two “hate engrained” incidents that occurred in the city on July 27 and 28 and released a statement Tuesday saying the events were not connected.
On July 27, a known white supremacist group staged a protest in front of Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, a bar and live music venue. The next night, a bar manager was attacked in a possibly racially-motivated assault.
The Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios bar was hosting a book fair led by an anarchist group that Saturday night. The white supremacist group stood outside the venue, lit red flares and chanted, “Reclaim America” and “Life, Liberty and Victory,” Denton police said in the press release.
The group left the venue and Denton less than five minutes after police were called in what is known as a “flash protest.” The group did not commit any known crime because hate speech is protected by the First Amendment, police said.
On Sunday night, a group of four people reportedly attacked a manager inside Harvest House. Witnesses said the group had swastika tattoos and were yelling anti-Semitic slurs as they assaulted the manager.
The manager asked the group to leave after seeing they had possibly gang-related tattoos, which is against the bar’s policy. An altercation ensued and one of the people in the group hit the manager with a beer glass, police said.
Police said it was unclear why the altercation started. The assault suspect, who was arrested and charged, admitted to being in a prison gang but denied yelling any racial slurs or hitting the manager.
Police said they determined other members of the group did yell antisemitic slurs as well as the initials of a documented Texas prison gang while leaving.
The group at the Harvest House was not linked to the hate group protesting in front of Rubber Gloves.
“This does not in any way, shape or form negate the fact that we had two incidents in our city that had facets of hate engrained in them,” the press release, signed by Chief Frank Dixon, said.
The police department talked with community groups such as members of the LGBTQ community, the League of United Latin American Citizens, NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League-Dallas and the Denton Independent School District. The department is also supporting the Anti-Defamation League’s national “No Place for Hate” education initiative.
“There is no place for hate in our country, in our state, or in our city,” the release said.