Three weeks after five police officers were gunned down at the end of a police brutality protest, organizers plan to stage another protest Friday.
David Villalobos with the Next Generation Action Network said the violence of a lone gunman who was not part of the group ruined the message of the July 7 demonstration.
“We continue with our message of peace and unity. That's the only way we're going to have what we need changed in the community,” Villalobos said.
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The group Mothers Against Police Brutality supports the push for change.
Collette Flanagan organized the mothers after finding that many other parents shared the same grief she felt when her son, Clinton Allen, was killed by a Dallas officer in 2013.
“Clinton was only 25-years-old. He was unarmed,” Flanagan said. “He should be here. There is nothing Clinton had done in his life that should cause him to lose his life to Dallas police.”
Officials said Allen had drugs in his system and tried to choke the officer before he was shot.
Announcing a new police website in 2014 with records on all police shootings, Chief David Brown said transparency is necessary for accountability.
"And if you’re not providing information to the public, you're leaving conspiracy, and conjecture and rumors and gossip to rule the day. And we’re depending on the public’s support,” Brown said at the time.
Brown said the near riot after the 2012 police shooting of a suspect at Dixon Circle was a wake up call for Dallas. Since then, Dallas has also pushed tasers to reduce the use of deadly force, body cameras to record what officers see and they confront suspects, along with the release of information of shooting investigations.
“The reports are not complete,” said Flanagan.
She complains police still restrict the flow of information about cases.
“If a police officer shoots someone in our community, we don’t know how long he’s off work. We don’t know when he goes back to work. We don’t know where he resides. We don’t know anything,” Flanagan said.
Critics complain police officers have the advantage of a 72 hour grace period before filing a report in a use of force incident, during which they are allowed to view available video to prepare their report.
“It's going to be a combination of policies changed by our politicians, the 72 hour rule, and of course, better training,” Villalobos said. “We are not in a battle zone. We are civilians in our own country.”
At a memorial service in Dallas after the officers were killed, President Barack Obama cited improvements Dallas has made in community-oriented policing and reductions in the use of force as examples for the nation. The critics want more progress.
Friday’s protest is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. at Main Street Garden Park, 1902 Main Street in Dallas.