3 Weeks After Deadly Shootings, Dallas Prepares For Another Protest About Policing | KERA News

3 Weeks After Deadly Shootings, Dallas Prepares For Another Protest About Policing

Jul 29, 2016

It’s been three weeks since a gunman opened fire on police at the end of a peaceful protest in downtown Dallas. The group behind that rally is planning a silent march on Friday night.

It’s scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Main Street Garden in downtown Dallas.

Like the earlier protest, Friday’s march is designed to protest police brutality and tactics in black communities.

Many described the July 7 protest against police brutality as peaceful. Hundreds had gathered at Belo Garden Park to protest the fatal police shootings of two African-American men — Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota.

As the protest ended, a gunman started firing, killing five police officers and wounding nine others. Two civilians were also hurt.

That sparked an outpouring of grief -- and a national conversation about race and policing.

In Dallas, that conversation continues with Friday’s protest.

David Villalobos is the chief of staff for the Next Generation Action Network. The nonprofit organized the July 7 protest and is also planning Friday’s march.

“We’ll not wait for another Alton Sterling tragedy in order to continue our mission,” Villalobos said. “We’ve been very respectful to our losses in the community, but our organization is not going to forget about the loss of lives that have been taken by the hands of police officers. Our nation is premised on the notions of justice, freedom and equality. This is not the case for everybody.”

Friday's protest will be a silent march out of respect for the officers who were killed earlier this month. The march had been planned for last week, but Dallas police had raised concerns that it was too soon following the deadly shootings.

In a statement, the Dallas police department said it will not interfere with the lawful gathering of people expressing their First Amendment rights. It said it will take action only if there is a criminal offense or if demonstrators block traffic.