More than 600 protesters penned in and arrested by Dallas Police Department officers during an otherwise peaceful protest Monday night will not be charged with a crime, according to Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall and Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax.
After rallying at Frank Crowley Courthouse just outside of Dallas' curfew zone Monday night, protesters marched onto the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. As they reached the end of the bridge, they were confronted by police, who fired non-lethal projectiles and smoke at the crowd. Multiple protesters have claimed that police tear-gassed the crowd, but DPD has denied this claim.
In the chaos that ensued after the confrontation between police and demonstrators, hundreds were forced to lie down on the bridge, as they were arrested and had their wrists zip-tied. After a long wait, hours in some cases, those arrested were released after giving cops their personal information.
On Thursday, Hall defended her department's widely criticized actions, as she has since Tuesday.
“I strongly believe we made the right decisions to deter and disperse the large crowd on the bridge,” Hall said. “We had to protect the protesters from vehicular injury on a roadway still open to traffic. It was critically important to process protesters and then safely reopen the bridge.”
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Broadnax said he agreed with Hall's decision not to charge the protesters with a crime.
“In any form, racism is the enemy, not the protesters,” Broadnax said. “I agree with Chief Hall that this is the right decision at the right time. This week the protests have been peaceful and I was truly moved to see our officers taking a knee at yesterday’s event. Now is the time for collaboration and compassion not confrontation.”
The city manager said he was looking to make changes to city policy as soon as possible to make Dallas' criminal justice system more equitable.
“Everything is on the table, and together we can move quickly to find ways that produce changes that value justice, integrity, transparency and good governance," he said. "Hopefully, we can turn this pain and anger into action in Dallas."