DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – In some regards, it was a provocative and potentially dangerous mixed message: protestors armed with assault weapons simultaneously calling for an end to police shootings—while also advocating self-defense.
“Black people have a right to self-defense and self-determination,” insisted Huey Freeman. “We want to be proactive.”
Freeman and about three dozen others calling themselves the ‘Huey P. Newton Gun Club’, after one of the founders of the original Black Panther party, marched and chanted for about an hour through south Dallas Wednesday.
Organizers say they want to call attention to what the group calls ‘police terrorism.’ Clearly, the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, was top of mind. “We don’t think what happened to Michael Brown in St. Louis is an isolated incident,” says Charles Goodson, “we have so many Michael Browns here in this city of Dallas.”
Violent protests erupted in Ferguson after an unarmed black teenager was shot and killed by a white police officer. The Newton Gun Club insists that the unrest there should be a wakeup call for North Texas.
“If they don’t get these killer cops and corrupt cops under control,” a man identifying himself as Cmdr. Drew X said, adding, “what happened in Ferguson is going to be nationwide.”
“Unfortunately, it takes things like this to bring national attention to the things that are going around,” Priest Brazier, who identified himself as a member of the New Black Panther Party, told CBS 11. “If the protests hadn’t happened, you wouldn’t have the attorney general, and all these people, the FBI and the federal people looking at the situation. They normally would have ignored it.”
But, as the lunch crowd gathered at Blackjack’s Pizza—a South Dallas institution—operator Ronald Jones was more worried about the murders that are ignored close to home, because they are committed by others in the community.
“Like the kid that got killed in Oak Cliff,” recalled Jones with a sad shake of his head, “Sixteen-year-old got killed. Did the neighborhood march about that?”
Jones’ family has operated the pizza parlor and burger joint in the heart of south Dallas for a quarter century.
The owner insists that what the community needs most is to recommit to educating and guiding the community’s children—not more guns: regardless of how they are carried. “We’ve got to stop fighting the wrong battles and fight the right battles.”
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