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More photos, video from protest against racism, police brutality at the Pavilion

By 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, the scheduled start of the NAACP- and city of Port Arthur-organized protest rally against racism and police brutality drew a capacity crowd to the Pavilion in downtown Port Arthur.

The protest lasted approximately an hour inside the Pavilion, but it continued across the neighborhood, as protesters marched south of the facility down Procter Street, went into a neighborhood and convened at the Jefferson County Sub-Courthouse for more demonstrations as the sun went down.

Port Arthur Police Chief Tim Duriso said he received no reports of any physical interactions between his officers and protesters.

The rally drew hundreds of citizens in memory of George Floyd, a Houston native who died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee down Floyd’s neck to subdue him during an arrest for allegedly exchanging counterfeit money at a deli. The officer in question was charged with murder of Floyd. He and three other officers were fired.

Thomas Lane, 60, of Port Arthur was among those who arrived early for the rally.

“I have two grandsons, one granddaughter and a host of nephews and nieces,” Lane said. “I want people to know we as black people are tired. We love people. I’m a people person. My pastor is white. We want the same love we show to other people.”

The rally drew a crowd diverse in race, age and hometowns. Alexandra Wyble and Lauren Woods, both of Vidor, held up signs reading “White Silence = Violence” and “Stop killing black people!”

“We see the protests,” Woods said. “We see the riots. We see a lack of change. We feel responsible to uplift fellow human beings.”

Woods added that white people need to speak up whenever “bad things” such as Floyd’s murder occur.

From left, Alexandra Wyble and Lauren Woods, both of Vidor, take their seats before the start of the protest rally. (I.C. Murrell/The News)

Port Arthur Police Chief Tim Duriso addresses the crowd during a protest rally Tuesday at the Pavilion in Port Arthur. (I.C. Murrell/The News)

Ramona Davis of Port Arthur holds a sign that reads “Black Lives Matter” while draped in an American flag Tuesday. (I.C. Murrell/The News)

Thomas Lane of Port Arthur holds up signs before the protest rally. (I.C. Murrell/The News)

Protesters record and listen to a speaker during the rally at the Pavilion. (I.C. Murrell/The News)

Protesters recited chants including “Black Lives Matter!” and “No justice, no peace!” inside the Pavilion and while marching in downtown Port Arthur. (I.C. Murrell/The News)

Parris Olliver, 26, of Port Arthur speaks out during a speech toward the end of the protest rally Tuesday. Olliver said he’s outraged and nervous that his children, who are 3 and 2, may become victims of racism or police mistreatment. Olliver later was allowed to address the crowd on stage. (I.C. Murrell/The News)

 

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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