DALLAS (AP) — Several dozen protesters marched through downtown Dallas on Friday to protest police violence toward African-Americans while also paying homage to five police officers slain by a sniper during a demonstration earlier this month.
The demonstrators marched several blocks from a downtown park to El Centro College, where a sniper identified by police as Micah Johnson gunned down officers on July 7.
Carrying an assault rifle, Johnson took multiple positions as he attacked police and threatened to kill more before a bomb-carrying robot was deployed to kill him, authorities have said. Johnson, a 25-year-old black man, told authorities during the attack that he wanted to gun down white officers, police have said.
The march Friday was organized by the Next Generation Action Network, the same Dallas-based civil rights group that held the July 7 protest. The group is led by Dominique Alexander, an ordained Baptist preacher and convicted felon whose uncle died in a police-involved shooting.
Alexander, the group’s 27-year-old president and founder, had been criticized for mounting the protest so soon after the attack. In response, he said it was important “to show respect for what officers sacrificed” for the sake of free speech.
Dallas police helicopters circled overhead during Friday’s march, and officers armed with rifles in riot gear ordered protesters off the streets to the sidewalks. Unlike the July 7 protest, Friday’s demonstration had no police escort.
The July 7 protest drew about 1,000 demonstrators before the march was ended with gunfire.