By JUAN A. LOZANO and JAMIE STENGLE Associated Press
HOUSTON (AP) — The family of George Floyd, the man whose death in Minneapolis police custody triggered nationwide protests, joined thousands of demonstrators Tuesday afternoon to march in Houston in protest of Floyd’s death.
Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis policeman pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes, grew up in Houston and a public memorial and burial is planned there for next week.
Meanwhile in Dallas, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday that Texas would not request military support after President Donald Trump threatened to deploy troops across the U.S. to confront violence that has erupted in the wake of Floyd’s death.
Before the start of the Houston march, Houston rapper Bun B, who organized the event with fellow Houston rapper Trae Tha Truth, told the crowd the march and rally would be peaceful and he asked the crowd to look out for anybody who could cause trouble.
Bun B then led the crowd of at least several thousand on a chant as he said “What’s his name?” and the crowd replied, “George Floyd.”
“That’s right and don’t you ever forget it,” Bun B said.
The crowd later got down on one knee and was silent for 30 seconds.
“We’re our here supporting George. We want some peace. We want some change in America. We want some change in the world,” said Anthony Blackmon. He was on horseback along with about 60 other people from a Houston riding club called “Deep in the street and always on the trail.”
As the crowd marched about a mile from Discovery Green park in downtown Houston to City Hall, they chanted, “Hands up, don’t shoot” and “no justice, no peace.”
Some of the officials at the head of the march included Mayor Sylvester Turner and Sheila Jackson Lee and Sylvia Garcia, who represent the Houston area in Congress.
Police officers lined the route of the march and large city dump trucks blocked some downtown streets.
In Dallas, a growing number of protesters assembled outside Dallas City Hall to begin another day of protests as Abbott met inside with local officials. One held a sign that read “PROTECT & SERVE US TOO” as the crowd began marching downtown to the chant of “No justice, no peace.”
Abbott said he was not asked to send Texas National Guard members to the District of Columbia after days of violent demonstrations there has led to fires, destroyed businesses and the use tear of gas and flash bangs, including on peaceful protesters. Others states, including Mississippi and Utah, were sending in more guardsmen to the nation’s capital Tuesday.
Abbott raised his voice while condemning Floyd’s death as a “horrific act of police brutality” and called Texas a leader in criminal justice reform and mentioned the Sandra Bland Act passed in 2017. The law mandates police deescalation training and is named after a black woman who died in a Texas jail following a confrontational traffic stop with a white state trooper. Video of the traffic stop and her death stirred national outrage.
Abbott didn’t suggest any changes to Texas policing or laws in the wake of Floyd’s death, and Democrats criticized his words as insufficient.
More than 3,000 state troopers have been assigned across Texas to bolster local law enforcement amid the protests.
“Texas National Guard are here for Texans, and that’s exactly what they’ll be use for,” Abbott said when asked whether guardsman would be sent to Washington.
Since Friday, more than 180 protesters have been arrested and jailed in Dallas, according to the county sheriff’s office. That figure excludes a mass of demonstrators arrested and released Monday after being charged with obstructing a roadway.
Dallas police Chief U. Renee Hall emphasized Tuesday that most protests were peaceful but warned, “If you break the law, we will arrest you.”
Austin police say a 20-year-old black protester was critically injured after being struck by a beanbag fired by a police officer. Police Chief Brian Manley says the officer had been aiming at another demonstrator but missed.