Occupy Dallas Marches to Support Police

Protesters speak out against budget cuts to police

By Julie Tam and Ken Kalthoff
|  Friday, Oct 28, 2011  |  Updated 12:59 AM CDT
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Occupy Dallas protesters march to Jack Evans Police Headquarters to support police officers.

Ken Kalthoff, NBCDFW

Occupy Dallas protesters march to Jack Evans Police Headquarters to support police officers.

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Occupy Dallas Marching for Police

Protesters plan to march from City Hall to Dallas Police HQ to protest budget cuts by the police department.
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Occupy Dallas marched through downtown Thursday to support the Dallas Police Department officers who arrested nearly two dozen of the protesters Monday.

Nearly two dozen Occupy Dallas demonstrators were arrested and charged with criminal trespass after blocking the entrance to a downtown Chase bank branch Monday.

Thursday's march from the group's camp at City Hall to police headquarters and back was peaceful. Around two-dozen demonstrators chanted slogans of support for police at headquarters, then stood beside the officers assigned to watch the march.

Occupy Dallas said they were showing support for police and protesting budget cuts to the department.

"The policemen put their lives on the line for us every day, and they're getting paid a fifth of what the politicians that sit in office that are corrupt," protester Jared Schiffner said.

Occupy Dallas members say their movement is a protest against big corporate influence in America and that police officers, as middle-class government employees, are victims of the system, too.

"It is not about us and them," said Kooper Caraway, the leader of Thursday's march. " It is not about the protesters against the police or the occupiers against the police."

Caraway was one of the 23 demonstrators arrested at Chase on Monday.

"It's about the people as a whole against the unjust system, and we're here to show they are our friends, they are our allies and, even though they arrested us, we are sending an olive branch to them," he said.

Early organizers of Occupy Dallas urged people who joined their cause to protest peacefully, obey the laws, and work with police.

Monday's arrests were the first made in Dallas. Fellow protesters waited outside the jail until they were released.

"We do have a passion for the people of not only Dallas, but also the U.S. and the world. I guess that's what the driving force behind it is -- passion," Cordell Rasco said.

Occupy Dallas have a 60-day permit to camp behind City Hall until mid-December. Protesters are now discussing what to do after the permit expires.

Police leaders declined to comment on the record about Thursday's demonstration but said privately if the demonstrators break the law again, they will be arrested again.

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