Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson declared a disaster in his city over the weekend after protests against the killing of George Floyd by police in Minnesota turned violent. The protests in Dallas were among many across the state and the country over the weekend.
But The Dallas Morning News reported that Dallas police deployed tear gas to disperse large crowds, possibly for the first time in decades.
Dallas Police Chief Reneé Hall told Texas Standard host David Brown on Monday that she recognizes the ongoing conflict between law enforcement in the United States and the “black and brown community,” and supports the protests. But she said she stands by her department’s decision to use tear gas because protests turned violent.
“There is nothing that excuses the behavior of individuals who are interrupting peaceful protests that we truly support,” Hall said. “The looting and the criminal activity that we are seeing is not acceptable as a means to express themselves.”
The decision to use tear gas came after Hall said officers were “under attack” by protesters. Demonstrators allegedly threw bricks at officers, slashed squad car tires and set some of those vehicles on fire.
“The tear gas was deployed as the least lethal form of force that we can show to disseminate the crowds,” Hall said.
Hall expects more protests, and said the department supports “peaceful” demonstrations. But the department won’t support “criminal activity ‘disguised’ as protest,” she said.
“It does a disservice to the individuals who are actually seeking some sort of justice.”
Web story by Caroline Covington.
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