Live updates: Dallas police chief defends arrests of peaceful protesters, report says

Live updates: Dallas police chief defends arrests of peaceful protesters, report says

Protesters marched in Austin on May 31, 2020, over the death of George Floyd, who was killed while in Minneapolis police custody.
Protesters marched in Austin on May 31, 2020, over the death of George Floyd, who was killed while in Minneapolis police custody.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

What you need to know Tuesday:

Dallas police chief defends arrests of peaceful protesters

Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall said Tuesday that police were justified in arresting peaceful protesters Monday night, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Protesters broke the law, Hall said at a news conference, because they walked onto the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and blocked traffic after police warned them to stop.

Hall said officers were in support of the protesters but warned them not to go on the bridge. Hundreds of people marched to the bridge, sparking a massive number of arrests. People were taken into custody, identified, charged and released, Hall said.

“Some are not happy with the decisions I made yesterday,” Hall said. “I am not here to make people happy. My job and our job is to keep this city safe.”

Protests across the state and nation are calling for justice after the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed in Minneapolis police custody. Footage from a now-viral video showed that Floyd died after a white officer kneeled on his neck long past the point when he lost consciousness.

Chauvin has been fired from the Minneapolis force and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Three other police officers shown in the video alongside Chauvin were also fired.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will address the protests in a press conference at 1 p.m. Central time Tuesday. — Clare Proctor

Texas officials urge calm after a weekend of protests

While curfews were in effect Monday night in Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio, officials in Texas expressed sympathy with the protesters’ anger but also said there would be consequences for those who turn violent during demonstrations. Gov. Greg Abbott will be in Dallas on Tuesday to provide an update on the state’s response to the protests, which were sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed in Minneapolis custody. (You can watch the news conference, which is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. Central time, here.)

Abbott will be joined by the mayors and police chiefs of Dallas and Fort Worth, the Texas Department of Public Safety director and the adjutant general of the Texas National Guard. Abbott said he has talked with mayors across the state.

In Houston, Floyd’s family will join Houston protesters Tuesday in a march toward City Hall. Floyd grew up in Houston’s Third Ward.

Demonstrations in Austin have protested the death of Floyd as well as that of Michael Ramos, an unarmed black man who was fatally shot by an Austin police officer in late April. During one of those demonstrations, police critically injured a 20-year-old black protester Sunday when an officer shot him with “less-lethal” ammunition, according to Austin Police Chief Brian Manley.

As recent demonstrations have brought thousands of people into close contact with one another during the coronavirus pandemic, politicians and health experts have warned that the spread of the disease could hasten. Leaders of Texas’ largest cities balanced statements of support for demonstrators’ rights of free expression with warnings about the public health risks of gathering so closely.

For protesters, the anger has outweighed their fear of getting sick.

“I didn’t care if I was exposed to COVID,” said Renee Lopez, who attended an Austin protest. She tried to stay away from the thickest crowds, but “I had this single-mindedness to go and protest because I feel like I just can’t take it anymore.” — Texas Tribune staff

Texas reports 64,880 coronavirus cases, 1,678 deaths

Texas is expected to release its latest totals of coronavirus cases in the state later Tuesday. On Monday, the reported 593 more cases of the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of known cases to 64,880. In the last week, the state reported an average of 1,273 new cases per day.

Harris County has reported the most cases, 12,276, followed by Dallas County, which has reported 10,234 cases. The Tribune publishes maps of the latest case numbers for each county and case rates per 1,000 residents.

The statewide total of deaths is now at 1,678. In the last week, the state reported an average 22 additional deaths per day. Harris County reported one additional death Monday, bringing its total to 232 deaths, more than any other county.

As of Monday, 1,756 patients are known to be hospitalized in Texas. That’s an increase of 72 patients from Sunday. — Chris Essig

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Source: Texas Tribune

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