Protests Against Police Brutality Ends in Fatalities
Dallas (AP) — Multiple media outlets report that shots were fired Thursday night during a Dallas protest over two recent fatal police shootings of black men.
As of 12:26 AM (EST), four police officers have died as a result of being shot during the Dallas protest.
The gunfire broke out around 8:45 p.m. Thursday. Live TV video showed protesters marching along a street in downtown, about half a mile from City Hall, when the shots erupted and the crowd scattered, seeking cover. There was no immediate word on whether anyone had been injured.
Scores of police and security officers were on hand. Police and others hunched behind cars outside a parking garage. Officers with guns drawn were running near and into the parking garage as police searched for the shooter.
TV cameras showed the search for the gunman stretched throughout downtown, an area of hotels, restaurants, businesses and some residential apartments. The scene was chaotic, with helicopters hovering overhead and officers with automatic rifles on the street corners.
An Associated Press reporter at the scene saw officers entering an Omni hotel building on the southwest side of downtown. TV cameras also showed officers carrying shield going into a bank building.
A police dispatcher reached by the AP had no immediate comment. A spokesman for the mayor said he no information he could share. Firefighters and police at the scene were keeping people away; dozens of police cars with their lights lit up were there.
Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Sgt. Lonny Haschel said DPS has “no information at all” about situation. He said the agency has not been asked to assist.
Brittany Peete, a demonstrator, said she didn’t hear the gunshots, but she “saw people rushing back toward me saying there was an active shooter.”
Peete said she saw a woman trip and nearly get trampled as people ran to get to safety.
“Everyone just started running,” Devante Odom, 21, told The Dallas Morning News. “We lost touch with two of our friends just trying to get out of there.”
Carlos Harris, who lives downtown told the newspaper that the shooters “were strategic. It was tap tap pause. Tap tap pause.”
On Wednesday, a Minnesota officer fatally shot Philando Castile while he was in a car with a woman and a child in a St. Paul suburb. The aftermath of the shooting was purportedly livestreamed in a widely shared Facebook video.
A day earlier, Alton Sterling was shot in Louisiana after being pinned to the pavement by two white officers. That, too, was captured on a cellphone video.
The gunshots in Dallas came amid protests nationwide over the recent police shootings.
In midtown Manhattan, protesters first gathered in Union Square Park where they chanted “The people united, never be divided!” and “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now!”
A group of protesters then left the park and began marching up Fifth Avenue blocking traffic during the height of rush hour as police scrambled to keep up. Another group headed through Herald Square and Times Square where several arrests were reported.
Michael Houston, a 20-year-old Brooklyn student, said anger and lack of action brought him to the protest.
“It’s the definition of insanity,” Houston said. “How can we expect anything to be different when nothing changes.”
Lawrence Amsterdam, 35, another student from Brooklyn, decried what he called the police injustice.
“It’s supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. But the way I see it, it’s murder first and ask questions later,” Amsterdam said.
Callous Minnesota cops ignored a black man fatally wounded by a panicked officer’s bullets — and instead comforted the shooter after the lethal traffic stop.
The fiancée of victim Philando Castile, at a tumultuous Thursday news conference, recounted how “racist” cops offered him no medical aid and slapped her in handcuffs after the Wednesday night killing.
Shortly after Diamond Reynolds recounted her nightmarish tale, an outraged Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton declared Castile would still be alive if not for the color of his skin.
“Would this have happened if the driver and the passengers had been white?” he asked. “I don’t think so … All of us in Minnesota are forced to confront that this kind of racism exists.”
The St. Anthony Police patrolman who shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop has been identified as Jeronimo Yanez. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) released a statement Thursday evening. Yanez and another cop, Officer Joseph Kauser, were involved in the Wednesday shooting.
The BCA is conducting an independent investigation into the incident, the aftermath of which was livestreamed on Facebook by his fiancée.
If you are interested in watching the live video recording of the aftermath of police shooting of Philando Castile, here it is:
Associated Press writer Ezra Kaplan in New York contributed to this report.