DALLAS, TX (KDAF) — Dallas Police and several other law enforcement agencies surrounded and trapped hundreds of peaceful protesters on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas on Monday night, using rubber bullets and smoke grenades to stop their march. The protest was a continuation of demonstrations following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.
Initial reports were that tear gas was used, but officials say it was smoke. Several protesters sustained injuries from the rubber bullets and canisters officers fired at them. One person who was on the bridge said she witnessed another protester having a seizure, but there are no reports on that protester or her condition.
The protest started at the Frank Crowley Courts Building, just outside the curfew zone Dallas police imposed a few days ago in downtown. Organizers had permission from Dallas County to stage the protest at the court building. However, Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall says that protesters broke the law when they marched on to the bridge and that they were warned beforehand.
Many expressed outrage at how law enforcement responded to the protest, which was peaceful. Dallas police and state troopers were clad in military-style equipment and boxed the large group on the bridge. Some witnesses said people in the march assumed they could enter the bridge since police allowed them on.
Hundreds of protesters were detained for several hours on the bridge. Throughout the night there was mass confusion between law enforcement officers and the media on whether the protesters would be arrested and charged or released. They were eventually released after being identified. Police used patty wagons and DART shuttles to transport people back to the court building.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Mayor Eric Johnson expressed serious concerns over how the incident was handled but wants to investigate further.