DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and Police Chief Renee Hall held a news conference Saturday afternoon to address Friday night’s protests in the downtown area that were marred by destruction, looting and tensions with police.
Friday evening began as a peaceful protest with hundreds of people in front of Dallas Police Headquarters over the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and many other police-related deaths involving black residents. However, the events quickly became tense as the protesters began to march.
Separate groups aside from the march could be seen in confronting officers, yelling profanities and destroying property, including police vehicles.
At times, police were forced to throw tear gas in order to disperse the groups throughout the downtown area.
Chief Hall told CBS 11 News that evening that people were throwing bricks at her officers and their vehicles. She also said she was almost hit by a brick, as well.
I spotted two guys on the hood of a police car.
Then, officers in riot gear appeared walking down the street. pic.twitter.com/Ez1Nat5CLu
— Andrea Lucia (@CBS11Andrea) May 30, 2020
Courtesy of the Adolphus Hotel security team. Damage to businesses in Downtown Dallas (1/2) pic.twitter.com/DjTabgOHkn
— F. Scott Padgett (@ScottPadgettCBS) May 30, 2020
In other parts of the area like Deep Ellum, businesses were destroyed and looted by people as the events went into the early morning hours of Saturday.
On Saturday afternoon, the mayor and the chief took to a podium at city hall in front of other leaders and media to address the events that took place.
Johnson applauded the protesters who called for the change in a peaceful manner and condemned those who caused trouble.
“But we also, unfortunately, saw some reckless behavior from a small group of people whose agendas had nothing to do with human rights or civil rights. They exploited a collective cry for help for their own personal gain by looting,” Johnson said. “They chose to destroy things at a time when we should by building each other up. And we just can’t allow that.”
“We will not tolerate selfish lawlessness in the city of Dallas. Dallas is better than that. Dallas deserves better than that. And we do not, have not and never will bow to chaos or fear in this city,” he added.
Hall then took over the podium after Johnson to describe how she saw Friday night’s events.
“We applaud those who stand up and protest police brutality. Because we do too… but last night peaceful protests began but that is not how it ended. And what I want you to be clear about with me today… this police department will not tolerate rogue vandalism. We will not tolerate tearing up our city. We will not tolerate tearing up our communities…” Hall said.
More protests are expected to occur in the downtown area on Saturday and both the chief and mayor exclaimed the need for those demonstrations to remain peaceful.