Two groups in Fort Worth will continue to protest Friday night, organizing separate rallies on opposite ends of downtown after initially marching together.
Two weeks ago, United My Justice started leading the protests and marches throughout downtown Fort Worth. Protests began at the historic Tarrant County courthouse on most nights, with the exception of a recent city council meeting which prompted protestors to begin at Fort Worth City Hall.
This week, protestors with Enough is Enough branched off.
“We’ve decided to take a different approach. We want to cause an economic disturbance, which we have and you see the response from that,” organizer Rod Smith said. “The only thing we’ve hurt is the pocket for a lot of these businesses. We will continue to do that until our demands are met.”
Cell phone video taken by Smith and shared with NBC 5 showed his group inside Texas de Brazil this week. There, protestors chanted “Black lives matter” and “hands up, don’t shoot” inside the restaurant.
On Monday, video on social media showed members of Enough is Enough marching inside the Target store on West 7th Street. Smith said they will continue to disrupt businesses in order to raise awareness.
“If a business says, you know what? They do not want us to bother them anymore, they can, by all means, reach out to us and let us know they stand with us in solidarity. We will be more than happy to leave them alone,” he said. If a business owner says, ‘you know what? I’m tired of them coming into my business’, then the business owner can say ‘you know what…the city of Fort Worth, until you guys meet their demands, I’m not paying taxes.’”
The latest news from around North Texas.
Smith said their demands include the ‘demilitarization’ of the police department. While the tactic differs from United My Justice, group president Donnell Ballard said the overarching message is similar.
Ballard said their new starting point for protests is at the Fort Worth Water Gardens.
“It’s nothing against that group. We don’t have anything against that group,” Ballard said, referring to Enough is Enough. “We all are fighting for the same goal. We all are fighting for the same thing.”
Ballard added, their approach is different.
“Prime example, going inside the business. That’s something we don’t do. We believe in keeping it out there in the streets and marching like we march. We believe we can get our message out there clear if we do that,” he said. “We want police reform. We want a citizen review board with penal power. That’s what we want. Those are the two things we’re asking for.”
NBC 5 reached out to the Fort Worth Police Department regarding the planned protests.
“We continue to monitor all activities with police presence and we are in communication with organizers and businesses to mediate all activities,” Officer Daniel Segura wrote in an email.
Mayor Betsy Price’s office confirmed she and Fort Worth Police Chief Ed Kraus have met with United My Justice, and there are plans in the works to meet with Enough is Enough.
A spokesperson for Texas de Brazil told NBC 5 on Friday, they did not wish to comment on the disturbance by Enough is Enough.