EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso Police are preparing for a planned peaceful protest at police headquarters in Central El Paso Sunday evening.
The protest is expected to begin at around 6 p.m. at Memorial Park and marches toward the headquarters at 911 Raynor Street. It’s unknown how many people will attend.
In response, El Paso Police released a statement asking for the public’s assistance in making the gathering peaceful.
“We ask for the public’s support in making this a peaceful assembly as a tribute and in honor of Mr. George Floyd. El Paso is an exemplary city of good people and a melting pot with a long round history who have bet through a lot in the last year. If you plan to attend the protest, be an example to the country and show that “El Paso Strong” are not empty words, but a true virtue that will endure and define our city,” the statement read.
In anticipation of the protest, EPPD says they’ve placed officers on standby “not to infringe or impose upon the right of the people to peaceably assemble…. but to support and defend that right.”
R&B singer and beloved El Pasoan Khalid asked for the public to be safe if they plan on attending Sunday evening’s protest.
The protest organizers say they’re wanting it to be peaceful and do not anticipate any unrest like other cities across the country have seen.
In addition to preparing for the protest at EPPD headquarters, police say they’re also aware of a possible threat against protesters posted on social media. The post in question shows a man saying he’s from El Paso and showing himself firing a weapon saying, “I’m all warmed up.” The statement and video was part of a thread asking Governor Abbott to send National Guard to El Paso ahead of tonight’s protest.
“We will not tolerate violence towards anyone exercising their 1st Amendment Right. Any threat will be investigated and addressed appropriately with the seriousness they deserve,” El Paso Police said in a social media statement regarding the potential threat.
Sunday afternoon, Governor Abbot surged substantial statewide resources to cities across Texas in response to escalating protests. Those cities include Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.
“Texans’ First Amendment rights are absolute and will always be protected,” said Governor Abbott. “But violence, vandalism, and looting will not be tolerated in this state, and those found in violation of the law will be arrested and prosecuted.”
El Paso not among the cities where the National Guard was activated, due to the fact the city has not seen any protests over the last week in response to George Floyd’s death.
On Saturday, EPPD’s Headquarters were vandalized with graffiti referencing George Floyd’s death. The City’s Street Maintenance promptly removed the graffiti. Mayor Dee Margo released a statement in response to the vandalism Saturday.
“The vandalism of the Police Headquarters is unacceptable. Our officers have consistently protected El Paso in the most respectful manner while supporting the community’s first amendment rights and still keeping safety a priority. This was on display a few weeks ago while individuals peacefully protested,” said Mayor Dee Margo. “The El Paso Police Department will once again ensure the safety of our community during the protest of the senseless and tragic loss of George Floyd. My thoughts and prayers are with the Floyd family during this time.”
KTSM’s Shelby Kapp will report from tonight’s anticipated protest. Follow her on Twitter for the latest information.