Contention at City Hall

Written by Lauriston Brewster

Editor’s note: As a disclaimer, the views expressed by the City Hall protesters do not reflect the views of The Houston Times. In situations like these, I wish to remain impartial and merely chronicle events as they unfold. There will be events that might spur controversy, but I will assuredly express full discretion in regards to taste and overall decorum. If you have comments/questions/ concerns regarding the controversy, please E-mail me (thehoustontimes.editor@gmail.com). I do not condone any political vitriol on this blog.

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Photography by Richard Cook

July 16— George Zimmerman’s acquittal, whether you agree with the verdict or not, has undeniably spurred ripples of discontent across the nation; and now these ripples have commensurately made their way to the Houston public (as if the 288 incident yesterday was not sufficient evidence of this). The Houston Times was there on the scene, albeit briefly, to capture the restlessness on Bagby street today.

The protest group gathered at the courthouse on Franklin and marched to City Hall to protest the controversial verdict rendered on Saturday.   By the time we arrived, the group—which numbered a few dozen—went inside of City Hall to the second floor. A rousing commotion could be heard reverberating off the stone walls of the building as  the photographer and I made our way up the stairs.

Distant shouts of distress could be heard, and as we got closer to the top, people began to flow to the bottom. We continued up the stairs and by the time we approached the landing, the small trickle of people fluttering down the stairs suddenly turned into a slightly chaotic en masse exodus. We pushed through the frenetic throng of people hustling down the stairs only to be greeted by HPD officers standing stalwartly at the top, plastic hand-cuffs at the ready.

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So we followed the crowd outside. A man claimed that two women were detained by officers inside City Hall. When we asked why, he retorted “For speaking their minds! That’s why!”

A man in a green hat climbed unto a high concrete step and began to chant “No Justice, No Peace” and eventually the rest of the crowd followed suit. As time passed, the crowd’s outrage slowly mitigated into agitation and indignation (by this point, HPD had blocked the entrance to City Hall).

The protesters were peaceful in their assembly and HPD handled the situation diligently. It’s good to see a protest that isn’t an anesthetized public spectacle filled with bellicosity and petulance. Violence didn’t erupt and the contention eventually simmered down.

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