Averaging a pace of three miles an hour, Leon Reed is making his way from Fort Worth to Austin on foot in a campaign to raise awareness of police reforms.
“Why am I walking 200 miles? It's because it's not easy,” Reed told NBC 5 before starting the walk.
Reed, a criminal defense attorney, wants to talk to Governor Greg Abbott about improving the culture of policing, recruitment, training and accountability. He hopes the long walk in the heat of August will call attention to the need for reform.
“I was feeling underutilized in the protests that I was attending,” said Reed. “I felt, in my spirit, that there was something else I could and should be doing to draw attention to this matter.”
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Reed invited people to walk with him during a kickoff event on Sunday evening in Fort Worth. By Monday, he traveled nearly 30 miles to Alvarado with a friend in an RV following him for safety.
“I’m absolutely afraid, but the fear isn't to the degree that it's going to stop me from going,” said Reed.
“This is not an anti-police effort or endeavor,” he added. “This is a pro-humanity endeavor. If there are police officers who want to walk with me, who recognize that things could be better, if you have ideas, I’m listening to those as well.”
Reed told NBC 5 he reached out to the governor’s office. He saID he didn’t request a meeting beforehand because he is unsure of when he would arrive in Austin.
“I do hope in walking through towns that I can meet people along the way and talk to them and get their positions on how to better police and community relations,” Reed explained.
“This is a good opportunity to meet people from different walks of life and take that message and incorporate it into the letter I finally put into the governor’s hands.”
Reed is sharing updates on Facebook. He expects the trip will take at least one week, with Reed walking before dawn and in the evenings then resting during the hottest parts of the day.