Many carried signs that read “Black Lives Matter,” “Silence is violence” and other phrases in support of George Floyd, an African American man who died May 25 in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Officers with the Fort Worth Police Department blocked off a number of streets as the largely peaceful protest navigated the downtown area. Shortly after 10 p.m., a standoff ensued when officers blocked off a bridge on West 7th Street in an attempt to direct protestors back toward the downtown area.
According to FWPD officials, the SWAT Unit then deployed smoke and threw flash-bang grenades to disperse the crowd. Those protestors who remained threw water bottles and pyrotechnics toward officers, who responded by deploying tear gas, officials said.
“Those who have been involved in the community protests over the past few days have done so peacefully, giving respect and dignity to those around them,” Fort Worth police said in a statement. “The few who engaged in violent behavior this evening did so with little regard for the safety and welfare of those who wished to express their concerns in a peaceful manner. The Fort Worth Police Department will continue to work diligently to ensure the safety of everyone, and we will partner with our community to create a safer environment for all.”
In response, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price announced a citywide declaration of emergency along with an 8 p.m. curfew for the entire city of Fort Worth. Price commended protestors who acted peacefully in exercising their First Amendment right.
“There are also those among us who have demonstrated blatant disregard for the welfare of others,” Price said in a June 1 press conference. “This decision was not made easily.”
The citywide curfew is effective immediately and will be in effect for the next 72 hours, Price said. In addition, a Fort Worth City Council meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. June 2 has been moved to 3 p.m. June 4, she said.
“This is to ensure we can hear from all of our residents,” Price said.
The city’s emergency declaration and subsequent curfew exclude individuals traveling for work or school purposes, Price added. The curfew will last from 8 p.m.-6 a.m. each day, she said.