Community activists held a demonstration in downtown Fort Worth on Friday evening to stand in solidarity following the death of George Floyd.
They marched from the historic Tarrant County Courthouse past Sundance Square to the Fort Worth Convention Center.
Officers on bicycles escorted the group of about 100 through the streets.
There were no incidents.
Patrice Jones said her message was simple.
"That black lives matter and I would really love for the police to stop killing us," she said.
The demonstration came days after the release of a widely-circulated video showing ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin firmly pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes. It has sparked outrage nationwide and unrest in Minneapolis, leading to Chauvin’s firing as well as three other officers seen in the video.
One of the groups organizing the demonstration in Fort Worth was the Brotherhood Movement.
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“I was totally upset. It’s just another tragedy," member Angelico McKinney said. "It could be your son. It could be your daughter. It could be your mother, it could your uncle. It could your loved one. Once that happens to you, you want people to support you no matter where it comes from.”
McKinney said for him personally, Floyd’s death brings up pain from October when Atatiana Jefferson was shot and killed in her home by a Fort Worth police officer.
“It’s like a scar reopened, you know? You’re trying to heal and here’s another scar,” McKinney said. “We are fresh not too long ago having this situation where we were rallying on Allen Street not too long ago.”
Community activists are not the only ones voicing their condemnation.
Manny Ramirez, president of the Fort Worth Police Officers’ Association, told NBC 5 he was mortified and disappointed in what he saw.
“It’s heartbreaking to watch. It’s heartbreaking to see. Watching it on a screen, I was yelling at the screen,” Ramirez said. “You see law enforcement groups, you see civil rights groups. You see left-leaning organizations, you see right-leaning organizations… we’re all carrying the same message, that this conduct is unacceptable.”
Ramirez added, it’s these kind of incidents which undermine efforts put forward by countless police officers every day.
“Just as in any profession, there’s going to be those folks that never should have signed up in the first place. There’s going to be those people that never earned that badge. Never had the character or commitment to take on that responsibility,” he said. “All I can say going forward is we have to make sure those people don’t get into our ranks. We have to make sure we’re recruiting for integrity. We have to make sure we are training for compassion.”
Action taken to bridge gaps moving forward must be intentional, Ramirez said.
“We have to be patient and understand that’s there’s a community that’s hurting, and understand that everybody has the right to express their opinion. We know that,” he said. “That conduct that we saw in Minnesota will not be tolerated in America by any police officer.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by McKinney.
“I appreciate those who speak out that this was wrong – police officer or not. Once you take that uniform off, you’re just a father. You’re just a brother just like the rest of us are. Look at it from your eyes too. You never know as a police officer when it might be your loved one as well,” he said. “I beg our police officers that are willing to bridge the gap in our communities to not just sit in your cars and not intimidate our community. If you’re around our people, please get out of your vehicle. Go meet the community, because that’s part of trust before tragedy.”