EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – As nationwide protest continues over police brutality, some El Pasoans are asking the El Paso Mayor and City Council to remove Police Chief Greg Allen.
The petition, posted on Change.org was started on Wednesday and has 5,486 signatures.
KTSM reached out to the El Paso Police Department for an interview or comment from Allen regarding the petition and has not heard back yet.
City Rep. Alexsandra Annello did respond, saying: “The city council does not evaluate, hire, or fire any city employees with the exception of the city manager and the city attorney.”
However, one man who was on the other end of the protest, and even arrested, Sunday believes there was a lack of leadership.
“They were as disorganized as we were because they put me in the cop car and were like ‘who brought this guy here?'” said Oscar Urueta who was arrested during Sunday’s protest.
Urueta was arrested Sunday night and according to the El Paso Police, he is facing a riot participation charge. According to a complaint affidavit, Urueta was “inciting others to fight back against the officers,” as well as “yell profanities and other things in an attempt to cause more civil unrest preventing the officers from dispersing the crowd.”
“I was upset at the situation cause it really got chaotic really quickly but I understood that the cops were just doing their jobs and me being there, there was a certain risk,” said Urueta.
Some people were being violent and that’s when police started using force, he added.
“But I mean they have riot shields and batons I don’t think it was necessary for them to start shooting tear gas or to start shooting bean bags at people,” said Urueta.
Following the protests, a petition is now on circulating on change.org to remove Chief Allen. The petition says he should be removed for the way the protests were handled and for a comment made about Black Lives Matter back in 2016.
“Black lives matter as far as I’m concerned is a radical hate group. And for that reason alone I think the leadership of this country needs to look a little bit harder at that particular group,” Allen said in 2016.
Allen later said in a statement that the comments were made “during an emotional time.”
“Having to endure that and hearing and seeing the negative actions that are taking place at some ‘Black Lives Matter’ events truly disturb me,” Allen’s 2016 said. “For example, in New York City, the protestors were chanting, ‘What do you want?’ and the response was ‘dead cops.’ At another protest in Minnesota, the protestors were chanting ‘pigs in a blanket fry them like bacon.’ In Harlem and in Dallas ‘Black Lives Matter’ supporters were cheering after police officers were killed.”
As far as the recent petition, some in the community don’t think it will gain much traction.
“For the most part, I think they did pretty good. I don’t really see them as being racist or anything or going out of their way to harm people. They just want to keep the peace which is what I expect them to do,” said Mark Segaline and El Pasoan.