Dallas Police Chief Asks Group to Stop Downtown Protests

Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Wednesday that he won't meet with organizers of the July 7 protest where five law enforcement officers were shot and killed unless they cancel any future downtown protests.

Brown posted his email exchange with organizer Dominique Alexander, founder of the Next Generation Action Network, to a police blog Wednesday a few hours before a scheduled 6:30 p.m. protest.

Alexander and a handful of protesters went to City Hall for a Wednesday council meeting to make several requests, including asking the city to form an independent review board to investigate police shootings.

However, Alexander was led out of city hall in handcuffs and taken to jail late Wednesday afternoon. He told NBC 5 that, at first, he was told he was trespassing for staying after his turn to speak, but then he was told he faces an outstanding warrant charge. On Wednesday night, police said Alexander was issued a criminal trespass warning. He was arrested for nine alias warrants out of the Dallas Police Department, totalling $5,004.32 and one hold for the Collin County Sheriff's Offices totalling $367. He's currently at Dallas County Jail. No bond has been set yet.

"From my understanding he has no outstanding warrants," said Kim Cole, who identified herself as Alexander's attorney. When asked why Alexander was arrested, she responded, "Becasue they don't like him."

In the email exchange (see below), Alexander agreed to compromise by making the event a rally instead of a march. Brown said holding the events downtown poses a tactical threat to police regardless.

"What's more important than our officers (sic) safety... cancel it and don't schedule anymore in the downtown area... I insist," Brown wrote in an email that included the ellipses.

"I'm not one of his officers," Alexander told NBC 5 in response to the email exhange. "If they Chief wants to serve the community, he will meet with me without any conditions." 

Brown spoke to the Dallas City Council Tuesday about the ongoing investigation into the July 7 shootings that left four Dallas police officers and one Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer dead as well as several other officers and civilians wounded. Shooter Micah Johnson was also killed.

Brown told the council he is increasingly worried for officer safety with downtown protests.

He said officers would continue to staff the protests and rallies, but would crack down on protesters who blocked traffic or attempted to shut down freeways.

Brown said holding the events downtown poses a tactical threat to police regardless.

The planned protest went on as scheduled Wednesday night. About two dozen protesters marched from the Main Street Garden Park in Downtown Dallas to the jail where Alexander was being held. 

Below is the Dallas Police Department’s stance on the citizen’s right to protest:

"The Dallas Police Department will not interfere with a lawful and peaceful assembly of any individuals or groups expressing their first amendment rights. The Dallas Police Department will take enforcement action if any type of criminal offense is committed against any person or property. Enforcement action will also be taken if demonstrators illegally impede traffic in the roadway or attempt to shut down a freeway. The safety of our officers and citizens is the primary concern as individuals or groups gather to express their first amendment rights."

The Next Generation Action Network, a Dallas-based civil rights group, held a protest march on July 29 that attracted several dozen protesters compared with nearly 1,000 at the July 7 event. The July 29 march did not include a police escort, and officers armed with rifles in riot gear ordered protesters off the streets to the sidewalks.

Alexander, an ordained Baptist preacher and a convicted felon whose uncle died in a police-involved shooting, has asked the City Council to meet to discuss violence toward African-Americans.

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NBC 5's Holley Ford, Ken Kalthoff and Noelle Walker contributed to this report.

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