As the nation sees nearly a week of protests following the death of former Houstonian George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, his family is planning a march to Houston’s City Hall on Tuesday, June 2.
The protests stemmed from Floyd’s death and the videos that surfaced of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee down on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds — all while Floyd pleaded for help, with the now ubiquitous cry, “I can’t breathe.” Floyd died in police custody. Chauvin has since been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death.
Here in Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner and police chief Art Acevedo, community members, and local organizations have invited the public to participate in the march, which will begin in the 1500 block of McKinney Street near Discovery Green at 3 pm, according to CultureMap news partner, ABC13.
The march route will be along McKinney. Expect street closures along the way. Some City of Houston buildings will also close early. Municipal Courts, and Houston Police Headquarters at 1200 Travis St. will close at noon, the city announced. Houston Public Works at 611 Walker, Central Library, City Hall, City Hall Annex, and the Houston Permitting Center will close at 1 pm, according to ABC13.
Houston rapper, Trae Tha Truth, organized the event specifically for the family to have their own march: “If this is his city, and this is home to him. Ours [march] needs to send an impact that speaks to the world.” Houston rap legend, Bun B, has also invited fans and the community to participate.
According to a Facebook post by Black Lives Matter Houston, the march is to “demand accountability for Black lives in Houston and across the country.”
Originally peaceful, the Houston demonstrations turned violent, with rampant damage seen downtown.
Mayor Sylvester Turner apologized to a woman who was trampled by a police horse after video surfaced of the incident during a march.
“Our job is to protect them and their rights to do that. And for them to do it safely,” Turner said. “It's not our intent to try to injure anyone. And so I certainly want to apologize to her for that, hope that she (is) doing well. We are constantly reviewing our procedures to make sure that we protect them while they're doing their things peacefully.”
As ABC13 reports, Floyd’s brother, Terrence, has called for peace while residents protest. “I’m outraged too,” “Sometimes I get angry. I want to go crazy. My brother wasn’t about that. You'll hear a lot of people saying, ‘He was a gentle giant.’”
Meanwhile, Gov. Greg Abbott has issued a State of Disaster for all Texas counties “in the midst of violent protests that endanger public safety and threaten property loss and damage.” Under the declaration, Abbott can designate federal agents to serve as state peace officers.
Major Texas cities including Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio were rocked by protests and demonstrations. As CultureMap Dallas reports, the city enacted an overnight curfew in the central Dallas area that was in effect from May 31 through 6 am June 1.
“Every Texan and every American has the right to protest and I encourage all Texans to exercise their First Amendment rights,” said Abbott, in the statement.
“However, violence against others and the destruction of property is unacceptable and counterproductive. As protests have turned violent in various areas across the state, it is crucial that we maintain order, uphold public safety, and protect against property damage or loss. By authorizing additional federal agents to serve as Texas Peace Officers we will help protect people’s safety while ensuring that peaceful protesters can continue to make their voices heard.”