For the fifth day in a row, hundreds of protesters marched through downtown Fort Worth to seek justice for the death of George Floyd.
For about a week, Floyd’s death has sparked demonstrations nationwide. In a widely-circulated video, ex-Minneapolis police office Derek Chauvin, who is now facing a third-degree murder charge, is seen firmly pressing his knee into Floyd's neck nearly nine minutes. Chauvin has since been fired, along with three other officers seen in the video.
One of the organizers behind Tuesday’s protest and march through downtown Fort Worth was community activist Donnell Ballard, president of United My Justice.
“We’re protesting so these officers will understand,” Ballard said. “We need our police officers across this country how important it is to come together and we do have to meet the police department halfway, but we are also realize that we need changes.”
The protest Tuesday in front of the historic Tarrant County Courthouse started at 3 p.m., which is about three hours earlier than protests the past few nights. Ballard said this was done in order to comply with city curfew orders which begin at 8 p.m.
Tonya Jackson of Fort Worth was one of several hundred who attended. Jackson said she was there to take a stand for Floyd.
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“What was done to that man is inhumane. Where is the love for humanity? For humanity, for each other,” Jackson said.
On Monday night, the crowd of protesters broke into applause and cheers as Fort Worth police officers knelt with them. Officers gave handshakes and hugs to some as they tried to get people to comply with the first night of curfew.
At a press conference Tuesday, Fort Worth police chief Ed Kraus said the department supported peaceful demonstrations.
“I have seen other police in other places kneeling and marching in solidarity and having these tough conversations with members of the protest, and I think that’s a step in the right direction,” Kraus said.
Ballard said gestures like the one people witnessed Monday night could be a turning point, but it cannot stop there.
“It’s going to take more than hugging the police. It’s going to take more than that. We need action. We need change. That’s my whole goal,” he said. “Until we get the justice we need, that’s a waste of time. It’s not going to do anything. That’s just a photo op.”
Ballard added, he felt change was possible without violent demonstrations.
“We don’t have to riot. We don’t have to go around doing this. We can get our message out there,” he said. “Tearing up your own city, going out there robbing people, looting – that’s not going to solve anything. We’re going to be in the same boat we were in the beginning, so no.”