In hopes of raising awareness of police brutality, two groups walked single-file together through downtown Dallas Monday afternoon with rifles slung over their shoulders. The Huey P. Newton Gun Club, which marched down Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in August, and the Indigenous People's Liberation Party stopped in front of the Earle Cabell Federal Building and Courthouse. As about 10 members stood in a line on the sidewalk across the building's entrance, three members went inside and attempted to hand a report directly to U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldana.
They got as far as her division manager with the report, compiled from data obtained through open-records requests, which shows that the majority of victims of Dallas police shootings are from the minority community. It's the same report Dallas Communities Organizing for Change released to the media last week. To the marchers, the numbers in the report are evidence of a systemic problem of police abuse toward minorities.
Charles Goodson, one of the three who handed over the report and a Gun Club leader, believes the numbers in the report have been largely ignored by the city and police Chief David Brown.
"I think it's a great contradiction that they would allow us to get these records and then at the same time when we present them with the facts and the records that they've given to us they don't really pay close attention to that at all," Goodson said. "One of the main things we want to do here today is put that information forward to the community and get it legitimized."
Goodson said his group has given the mayor and every City Council member a copy of the report.
"No longer can they say continuously this isn't an issue that's going on," he said. See also: Armed Huey P. Newton Gun Activists and Black Panthers Marched Through Dallas Yesterday
Earlier Monday, 13 members of the Gun Club marched down Dixon Avenue. It's the site where James Harper, a black man, was shot and killed by a white police officer after an extended chase and fight two years ago, prompting street protests.
The Gun Club focused its efforts there because of the neighborhood's history, and not just Harper's case.
"Dixon Circle is a model neighborhood to the point that you have young and old people living together," Goodson says. "You have people that have been living in the same community now for 15-20 years. Gentrification has not fully taken over that neighborhood. A lot of the people are three or four generations into that community. People have taken stake in that community. They're raising their children in that community continuously."
The street was quiet when the Gun Club marched, but the few people who were outside voiced their support.
"Somebody's got have our back," Freddie Smith said as the marchers passed by.
"They ain't hurting anybody," Vernell Wallace said after the march. "They're just walking down the street."
Wallace added that people open-carry rifles in Arlington on occasion.
When the Gun Club made its way downtown, it met up with the Indigenous People's Liberation Party. "We're made up of Latino and Native American people," said spokesman Kooper Caraway, dressed in fatigues and a camo jacket. "That's why we call ourselves indigenous."
The party didn't march down MLK earlier this year, but they contributed five people to the march downtown.
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"We're here to show that police brutality affects all people of color, even working class white people," Caraway said. "In Texas there's potentially some hostility between the black and brown community, so we're here to show unity, show solidarity."
Send your story tips to the author, Sky Chadde.