"A weekend of protest and mourning: George Floyd's death spurs demonstrations in Texas cities" was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
Texans protested in Austin, Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth on Friday and Saturday, spurred by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody on Monday. Floyd had been a longtime resident of Houston's Third Ward.
Footage from a now-viral video showed that Floyd died after a white officer kneeled on his neck long past the point when he lost consciousness. Floyd was handcuffed and in police custody in Minneapolis when officer Derek Chauvin put him into the chokehold. Chauvin has been fired from the Minneapolis force and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Three other police officers shown in the video alongside Chauvin were also fired.
Gov. Greg Abbott, who has denounced Floyd’s death as “a consequence of poor police work,” said Saturday more than 1,500 Texas Department of Public Safety officers had been dispatched to cities with protests. “As Texans exercise their First Amendment rights, it is imperative that order is maintained and private property is protected,” he said in a statement. He later said he was also activating the Texas National Guard to respond to protest violence.
In Austin, protestors carried signs and chanted slogans about Mike Ramos, an unarmed man who was shot to death by police last month. Austin Mayor Steve Adler said this month that he was “very disturbed” to see spectator video where “Ramos does not appear to threaten but ends up dead,” according to the Austin-American Statesman.
Photographer Eddie Gaspar was in Austin on Saturday to document the demonstrations there, which started at the downtown police headquarters and moved onto Interstate 35, blocking traffic for more than an hour.
On Friday, protests took place at Houston City Hall. Photographer Pu Ying Huang was there to document.
In Dallas, photographer Shelby Tauber captured scenes from what organizers described as a march and solidarity rally for Floyd and for Breonna Taylor. The march started outside the downtown police headquarters.