Dallas cops still free & working after killing Black men while Dallas 9 spent 40 hours in jail for protests
A group of activists who stopped traffic ahead of the Dallas Cowboys game to protest police violence on Sunday night were arrested and hit with a misdemeanor obstructing traffic charge.
The group, dubbed the Dallas 9, was originally part of a larger demonstration against recent episodes of police brutality in the Dallas area.
During that demonstration, approximately 100 people marched procession style eulogizing Botham Jean and O’Shae Terry, who were both Black men shot and killed by police, in front of the Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington.
According to Lee Merritt, the attorney who is representing Jean’s family in legal matters relating to the investigation into the shooting of the 26-year old, the 9 protesters willingly went into police custody.
After their arrest, the group was transported to Arlington City Jail, where they were then formally charged with Obstruction of Highway, a Class B misdemeanor. But according to Merritt, the group could and should have received a lesser charge.
As a result of the Class B misdemeanor, the group was required to spend at least one night in jail, be taken to a county facility and then appear in front of a judge.
Merritt press release notes that the officers responsible for actually killing Black people have faced very little ramifications by comparison.
“The officer responsible for the completely unjustifiable shooting death of O’Shea Terry has been returned to light duty and has faced no criminal charges whatsoever,” Merritt’s statement reads. “The officer who shot and killed Botham Jean remains on the Dallas police force and was able to bond out on manslaughter charges in a fraction of the time the protestors have spent in jail.”
After spending two days in jail, the Dallas 9 were finally released from the Tarrant County Jail around noon on Tuesday. Each person had a bail set at $100, according to the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department.
Additionally, Michael Lowe and Lelani Russell had higher bond amounts than the rest of the group; Lowe because of an additional charge of resisting arrest, and Russell because of other past charges.
Minister Dominique Alexander led a call to action and asked for donations that helped bail out the Dallas 9. Alexander told the Dallas Star-Telegram he saw the arrests, and that the Dallas 9 “were walking away when officers approached them… It was pretty much already over with, yet they detained them.”
Lesa Pamplin, the attorney who arranged the bond, was also critical of how the justice system operates differently for police officers, stating, “It should not take 40 hours to get someone out of jail on a Class B misdemeanor when someone who killed another person got out on the same day they walked into jail.”