Article Originally Published by Will Tarpley on North Texas Daily
More than 2,000 protesters representing the Black Lives Matter Movement marched around the outskirts of the Denton County Courthouse-on-the-Square Monday evening, demonstrating after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and protesting against police brutality in general. The protest in Denton comes after protests in cities across the country.
Protesters had previously organized across both of the two nights prior, according to the Denton-Record Chronicle.
The march began just before 6 p.m. on the southeast corner of the courthouse. Marchers then advanced down North Locust Street. Protesters chanted slogans such as, “No peace, no justice,” “F*** these racist a** police” and the names of people killed. The group stopped at the Women’s Club Building on the corner of Oakland and East Congress Streets, where Anthony Gaut, a 23-year-old UNT journalism student and reporter for North Texas Television, and another speaker, who wished to remain anonymous, addressed the crowd.
“I, like many of you, am angry,” Gaut said. “I am angry, I am hurt, I am scared, I am outraged. The list of negative emotions I feel goes on and on, but these emotions didn’t just appear overnight.”
Gaut was momentarily interrupted by a pair of counter-protesters who were escorted away by police.
Afterward, the crowd continued onto East McKinney Street, cutting between the Emily Fowler Library and Denton Civic Center. Proceeding back onto East McKinney Street, the line met up with another trail of demonstrators traveling down East Oak Street. The groups coalesced to form a large crowd that stopped at BCI Mechanical. At that point, the line could be seen stretching past the Square.
The demonstrators paused once more to listen to further speakers. Among them was Kevin Tarver, father of UNT student Darius Tarver, who was killed by police earlier this year.
“We don’t stand together, a house divided will fall,” Kevin said. “We don’t come together, the world will not come together. With the young faces I see out here tonight … my son is gone. A lot of you might not have known him personally, but he was a UNT student. He wanted to make a difference … he wanted to make [a] change in. In the very thing, he wanted to make change in was the very thing that killed him.”
Kevin then reaffirmed that he did not believe that Kevin had taken drugs prior to his death, nor stabbed a police officer.
“These are the lies they tell to justify the injustices that go on,” Kevin said. “I am not standing against police, I am not standing against the departments but I am standing against those who abuse their power and the injustices that come out of it.”
Kevin also announced he started an organization in his son’s honor, the Darius Jarrell Tarver Justice Network.
“It will make changes, it will bring laws, it will make a difference, it will save other children’s lives and that parents will not have to deal with what I had to go through,” Kevin said.
Another speaker was Jekhari Williams, a UNT student who was stopped by police for riding his bike near campus without a bike light at night. Williams spoke about how “lucky [he] was to get away.”
“[These] people have fallen victim to a system of injustice,” Williams said. “A system called the ‘justice system.’ I don’t know if you know this, but one out of three African Americans are incarcerated. I was not one of the “lucky” ones. I was put in a situation which I can’t talk about for legal reasons, but … I should not have been in. I was racially profiled, I didn’t know what to do.”
“A lot of the people blindly trust these officers and come out and talk about how it’s not all cops, but it’s one of those things where you can’t have a couple of bad people,” said a protester who requested to remain anonymous.
Non-Denton residents also came to protest.
“I have never been to a protest before, so it’s really empowering to be in their faces and be heard,” an anonymous protester that drove from Arlington, Texas said.
Denton Police Department was active during the protest and was seen escorting and communicating with protesters.
“Seeing that people have a voice and their voice being heard, and it’s being done in a peaceful way, I appreciate that and respect it,” a Denton County officer said.
The march then split off into multiple groups, with protesters still coming in north from I-35.
From 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., demonstrators still actively protested on the Square, an hour past the curfew set by the City of Denton and a white person was arrested for vandalizing a courthouse monument.
Featured Image: Protestors occupy the Square during a Black Lives Matter protest on June 1, 2020. Several demonstrations have occurred throughout North Texas since the death of George Floyd, and many more throughout the years. Image by Ryan Gossett
Source: North Texas Daily