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As bike police formed a wall, protesters yelled, “Get your knee off my neck.” Photo by Edward Brown.

Downtown Fort Worth was the scene of two tense confrontations between the Fort Worth police department and a coalition of protest groups that includes Enough Is Enough, Black Lives Matter, FW4GeorgeFloyd, and others last evening. 

The protesters have kept West 7th corridor business owners on edge (and more than a few unsuspecting patrons distressed) over the past several days by flooding the bars and restaurants and chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets!” and “No justice, no peace!” to raise awareness of racial discrimination and inequality across the country. 

Last evening, the group turned its efforts downtown. Protest organizers said they chose Texas de Brazil for its affluent clientele. While police have not intervened on West 7th, protest organizers used last night to see if police response would be different when the same tactics were employed in areas where mayor “Betsy Price eats,” protest leader Rod Smith said.

Enough Is Enough protesters outside Texas de Brazil.
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As protesters entered the main entrance on the east side of the building, more than a dozen police officers entered the south entrance, filling the main dining area alongside protesters. Around 20 minutes after protesters entered, a black woman ran out of the building appearing to be distressed. A white man had thrown water on the protester and called her a “nigger,” I was told. Verbal police statements that evening corroborated the incident. 

Protesters left the building and began yelling at police, who blocked their reentrance. 

“One of those people did not have control of themselves,” protest leader Lucid Shinobi told a police officer. “They are being racist, spitting on us and throwing water. It’s 2020. We see everything you do.” 

Reactions to the Weekly’s Facebook livestream questioned the protesters’ motives.

“There is no such thing as hate speech,” one self-described Trump supporter said. “It is a made-up term by the leftists to censor any speech they do not like.”

I am glad that I don’t have kids to witness this public hysteria, another commenter wrote. 

A white customer dining with his white wife said protesters called her a “white whore” and a “bitch.” The mostly Hispanic waitstaffers who had recently been rehired were noticeably unsettled, he added. The witness, who asked to not be named, said the incident has left him and his wife traumatized. Police attempts to deescalate the situation were met with cursing on the part of the protesters, he said. He provided video footage of protesters taunting him as he filmed the incidents. The witness drew a contrast between peaceful protesters associated with United My Justice and “activists” who he said used bullying tactics that evening.

Organizer Lucid Shinobi (left) addressed Fort Worth police department last evening. Photo by Edward Brown.

The police officers then filed inside the restaurant and locked the door. The protesters were told by a white police officer to remove themselves from the sidewalk or risk being arrested. That prompted the second confrontation. As bike police formed a wall, protesters yelled, “Get your knee off my neck.” 

Protest organizer Nysse Nelson then addressed the crowd.

“These policemen are willing to arrest us for being on the sidewalk,” she said, “but they are not willing to arrest someone for a violent crime behind these doors. What the fuck kind of system have they designed? There are protesters on the outside and violent people on the inside, but we are being threatened for protesting. Ain’t that some shit?”

The Enough Is Enough contingent drew a large police presence that evening. Fort Worth police placed officers between protesters and downtown business entrances, a departure from their handling of the West 7th corridor. 

As the confrontations unfolded, protesters with United My Justice marched nearby. The movement’s founder, Donnell Ballard, has denounced the uninvited flooding of private businesses by Enough Is Enough protesters. Both groups appeared cordial as their ranks marched past each other last evening. 

Enough Is Enough organizers returned to the Tarrant County Courthouse to announce their plans. Fort Worth police did not tolerate protests inside downtown restaurants, organizer Smith said. The police reaction that night has shown where Fort Worth’s powers-that-be have vested interests, he said. 

Enough Is Enough organizers called on their supporters to join a movement to “shut down” every downtown business and restaurant until their core demands — demilitarizing police, removing police from Fort Worth and Crowley public schools, and funding a new mental health/jail diversion program — are met. 

 

10 COMMENTS

  1. Breaking the law is not protest. The police had better grow a spine and start arresting these thugs, and quit dropping charges afterward.

  2. Well first of all Betsy “ROSS” is a lousy weak old WOMAN, that should be in a rest home & NOT Mayor of a large city! 2nd of all any “Protester” that disrupts or destroys businesses is nothing more than HUMAN GARBAGE, and should “ROT” on the TRASH Pile!

  3. “These policemen are willing to arrest us for being on the sidewalk,” she said, “but they are not willing to arrest someone for a violent crime behind these doors. What the fuck kind of system have they designed?” What violent occurred in the restaurant? Throwing water and calling a woman the N word is not violence. It’s rude, childish, and racist; but it’s not violent.

  4. CHAZ BETTER WISE UP, TRUMP LAY HAMMER DOWN WHEN THEY LEAST EXPECT IT. DOMESTIC TERRORIST GONNA DO SOME TIME.

  5. They are just abusing the first amendment at this point. …” the right of the people peaceably to assemble”…

  6. And they wonder why no one wants to live near them, hire them, or do business with them! Respect has to be earned, thru intelligent, responsible behavior.

  7. Betsy Price is a feeble and grossly incompetent Mayor and does not belong in her current position. From her inactivity in protecting law abiding, tax paying citizens, to her empty buses that run constantly through the city. Let the cops be cops. Let them do their job! Do not drop the charges of these thugs that come to this downtown to cause problems. Let these millennial children that were raised in a feel good seminar experience what it is like when you break the law and have to pay the consequences. Make sense?

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