Dallas — Night after night people have been gathering in downtown Dallas, Deep Ellum and across the country to protest the killing of George Floyd by four Minneapolis police officers, as well as police brutality in general.
Floyd was arrested for trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. Floyd died while in police custody, the cause of death was officially ruled a homicide, brought about by compression of his neck and back.
Even though this happened thousands of miles away, Dallas has seen days of protesters with things getting particularly violent on Saturday night. Police shot tear gas canisters into the crowd and shot individuals with rubber bullets in hopes of dispersing the rowdy gathering.
Despite police intervention, many stores along Main and Elm Streets as well as Ross Avenue, lost windows, were graffitied, and were looted. Obscenities aimed at police were spray painted on highway columns. Urban art condemning police and honoring victims of police brutality were painted on plywood shop owners used to board their broken windows.
In response to the threat of more protests, Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall set a curfew for 7 p.m. for downtown Dallas, Deep Ellum and several surrounding areas. Hall said the curfew would be enforced for as long as needed.
This came as another blow to restaurants and bars that had already lost business because of COVID-19. Most had just reopened.
There were a few businesses that escaped major damage and were able to reopen on Sunday or Monday. One example is High & Tight Barbershop (H&T), located on Main St.
“We were lucky,” owner Jordan Kiswani said. “We had people throw rocks through one window, but people around here had stuff stolen. Fortunately, we just lost a window. None of my guys were in here at the time, so I’m thankful for that.
“We came in the same day, put up the plywood and were back in business as usual the next day. Of course, there’s the curfew, which we have to observe, but other than that, everything is pretty normal.”
“I wasn’t apprehensive about coming downtown at all,” H&T patron Cory Wells said. “I felt safe. I’ve lived around here for ten years, and I didn’t think it was going to be that bad. But I figured that [riots] were bound to happen.”
The foot traffic in downtown Dallas and Deep Ellum has become sparse, but there are those who do not seem bothered by the aftermath of the riots.
“I come downtown a lot for different things,” Victor Galindo, who lives in the Pleasant Grove area, said. “What I’ve noticed is that now some businesses are completely shut off to the public in a way. All these boarded up windows and doors; it seems like people are scared to even open up their businesses with the fear of being attacked.
“I definitely think there is a cause here, but I don’t like the means about [the expression of feeling]. I’m sure a lot of people really feel fed up, and that’s why they resorted to violence about the injustice that they feel around the country.
“Maybe the Coronavirus had something to do with it,” Galiendo said. “People have been locked away and maybe they feel angst. They just wanted to get out [of their homes], and something tragic like this only heightens that feeling.”
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