Fort Worth police took a knee on president’s plan of domination

June 2,2020


See full Star-Telegram article by Mac Engle here

Fifteen minutes past the 8 p.m. curfew, one older white gentlemen urged a few of the African American leaders that in order for Monday night’s protest to be more effective it had move to Fort Worth’s affluent areas.

He insisted that a protest on the Tarrant County Courthouse steps to a small audience would not register.

A woman told him that the city would not allow the protest to be anywhere but that location, that the protesters would be most unwelcome in the high-dollar areas of the city.

Yes. Had protesters taken to wealthy white areas, it’s doubtful a knee and a prayer would have ended this peacefully.

Some of the protesters wanted to return to the West 7th Street, where the protest moved Sunday night. Monday’s protest remained in downtown.

And shortly after the president of the United States urged America’s governors to “dominate” with force, and then pledged military might to quell protesters, Fort Worth’s finest took a knee and said a prayer with those who only minutes earlier said there are no good cops.

Of the many photo ops created Monday, none was more promising than black and white cops taking a knee, and praying with African Americans — all Americans, really — who are protesting the behavior of the men and women in blue.

We are a hot mess right now, and the only prayer of cleaning it up is recognizing that we’re stuck together. Finding a solution with words, or through prayer, beats beating up our neighbors.

Credit the Fort Worth PD, and police chief Ed Kraus, middle-aged white man, for handling Monday night with grace, and providing room. The 8 p.m. curfew was ignored by a lot of people, and rather than wield a needless stick, the cops just gave everyone space.

Arresting however many people for violating the 8 p.m. curfew served no purpose, other than to show force when it was unneeded.

Credit the African American police officer who rather than dig in, simply took a knee to give the protesters what they wanted: To be acknowledged. Credit the other officers who followed suit.

There is pride. Then there is foolish pride.

Credit the size of the crowd. Fort Worth is the 13th largest city in the United States, and we still function a bit more like the 113th largest.

Credit the protesters.

There are multiple ways to handle anger, and in walking with the protesters in downtown Fort Worth on Monday it’s apparent the problem is there are people who want to be heard.

There were a few people who wanted to push it, and the leaders of the event did their best to ensure this particular protest was all about expressing frustration through words rather than slinging a brick.

One element missing from the images and the video you are seeing, specifically as it relates to what transpired on Monday night in downtown Fort Worth, is how few onlookers actually were present.

At 6 p.m., the sidewalks were virtually empty. It was almost embarrassing.

Maybe 10 patrons sat on the patio of The Flying Saucer; they drank their craft beer and filmed the scene with their iPhones so they could post the video on Instagram.

There were those who walked who are outraged at the inequality of it all. There were your voyeurs, who were looking for something to do and see what this is all about. Then there are were a small number looking to pick a fight.

But mostly there were citizens who wanted to be a part of a communal event where they could express anger over a double standard.

As evidenced by similar protests around the country, there are multiple ways to handle these events. Tear gas. Rubber bullets.

On Monday night in Fort Worth, the enforcers dropped to a knee and said a prayer with the people who are protesting the behavior of their colleagues.

What worked in Fort Worth on a Monday night may not fly in L.A. on a Tuesday.

But Fort Worth showed there is a way to handle it without the domination of a military occupation.