One of the Ferguson Protesters Was Arrested for Something Called a "Sidewalk Use Violation." What's That?

Protesters march down Main Street downtown Tuesday night.EXPAND
Protesters march down Main Street downtown Tuesday night.
Jana Jackson

Until the very end, Tuesday night's demonstration in Dallas against the grand jury's decision in the Ferguson case was uneventful. Marchers congregated at Dallas Police Department headquarters in the Cedars then walked through downtown to protest the grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson for killing unarmed teenager Mike Brown.

"Tonight I'm somewhat numb, but I'm also saddened," Michael Bowie Jr., new senior pastor of St. Luke Community United Methodist Church in Dallas told The Dallas Morning News at the protest. "First it was Trayvon [Martin], now it's Michael Brown. And it's sad that killing of black males is justified and legal."

At about 9:15 p.m., however, as the protest wound down, a small group stopped traffic on Interstate 35E near downtown, shutting down the freeway until police came to clear the roadway, which was reopened by about 11 p.m..

No one was injured, but KXAS reported that many protesters were almost struck by motorists before the freeway was shut down.

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Seven protesters were arrested. Six have been charged with, as you might expect, obstructing a highway or passageway, a Class B misdemeanor. The seventh was charged with a sidewalk use violation, a Class C misdemeanor. The Texas Criminal Code informs us that when walking along a freeway like I-35, one must walk on the left side of the road or the side facing traffic, which makes sense from a safety perspective -- it makes it easier for cars to see you -- but is kind of counter-intuitive.

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