A protest was held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, home to the Dallas Cowboys on September 16, 2018. The event was formed to protest police shootings in the area and was held at the Stadium in hopes of mobilizing support from Jerry Jones, owner of the football team .
Problems and Purpose
The event took place at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, which is located in the U.S. state of Texas. The problem addressed by the protest was that too many police shootings go unpunished. The purpose of marching at the stadium was to encourage Mr. Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys football team and a high-profile local citizen, to speak out against social injustice and police shootings specifically. The group felt there was not enough public awareness nor enough prison time for the shooters. The purposes were that Officer Amber Guyer who shot and killed Botham Jean and Officer Bau Tran who shot and killed O’Shae Terry be charged with murder rather than manslaughter, that the Dallas Police Department identify the officers who leaked the findings in Jean’s apartment; that the police be disciplined; that new police policies and procedures be initiated; and to bring public awareness to these issues .
Background History and Context
The term police brutality was first used in 1872 in the Chicago Tribune . Since that time police brutality has defined the relationship between the criminal justice system and the Black community in Texas.
August 14, 2016, Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers football team, was the first to kneel during the U.S. national anthem (Star Spangled Banner) before the start of the game in protest against police brutality. Other athletes have since followed. These protests are highly controversial and have been described as both patriotic and disrespectful. Jerry Jones has been openly against this behavior . On July 25, 2018, Jerry Jones reacted to the NFL players who protested by stating, “Our policy is you stand during the anthem, toe the line” . Even though the league gives players the right to stay in the locker room while the Star Spangled Banner anthem is playing, Mr. Jones has always required his team to be on the field . On September 1, 2018 Officer Tran pulled over Terry for a registration violation in the U.S. city of Arlington, Texas. The officer smelled marijuana, an argument ensued and 12 minutes later Terry was dead. Officer Tran was placed on restricted duty .On September 6, 2018 Officer Guyer was returning home, still in uniform but off duty and walked into an apartment in the U.S. city of Dallas, Texas that she thought was her own. She saw a stranger and fatally shot him. It turned out to be Botham’s apartment one floor away from hers. Three days later she was charged with manslaughter and released on a bond of $300,000. On September 12, 2018 protestors shut down the Dallas City Council meeting by continuously shouting, “no justice, no peace”. On September 13, 2018, the day of Botham’s funeral, an unidentified source from the Dallas police leaked that marijuana was found in his apartment .On September 16, 2018, Pastor Frederick Haynes of Friendship West Baptist Church, felt that bringing the protest to the Stadium and involving Jerry Jones would give this national attention. His reason for selecting AT&T specifically is because Mr. Jones had previously spoken out about his lack of support for players protesting social injustice by “taking a knee”.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
Pastor Frederick Haynes of Friendship West Baptist Church and Lee Merritt, attorney for one of the victims, organized the protest. They were joined by fellow parishioners as well as community activists .
Participant Recruitment and Selection
Participants self-selected and were recruited by word of mouth and through the church. The participants totaled 100.
Methods and Tools Used:
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
On September 16, 2018 a demonstration was held at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington in the U.S. state of Texas. Those who planned to march met at the Friendship West Baptist Church. They were briefed and then boarded donated buses. Once they arrived at the stadium and before the game, the protestors peacefully marched alongside the caskets outside the stadium. Along with the protestors, many of those who were attending the game and united in sentiment, symbolically bowed their heads and walked in solidarity on their way to the game. The 100- people march lasted about one hour and ended outside the stadium as the game was to begin. Nearing the end of the march nine protestors were arrested. Eight were convicted of traffic
obstruction and each fined $100. The ninth was arrested for resisting arrest and fined $200 . There were too few demonstrators to have an impact against the large physical size of the
stadium. They went virtually unnoticed as they marched alongside two hearses while rolling two caskets around the stadium. The caskets were to represent the lives of the two victims.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
The protest had little influence on Mr. Jones. He never talked about it. On October 2, 2019, Officer Guyer was fired and convicted of murder and sentenced to ten years in prison for the shooting death of Botham Jean . Officer Bau Tran was fired and charged with criminally negligent homicide for the shooting death of O’Shae Terry in 2018 . There is no evidence that the protest itself had any causal influence but it is possible that some who marched, saw the march, heard or read about the march were jurors at the trial of Officer Guyer which took place September 2019. If so, the march may have influenced them. There is no indication that whoever leaked information about Botham’s apartment will be found. With these two events taking place in such close proximity to one another both geographically and in time, public awareness of police brutality has been raised. Dallas Police Chief Rene Hall stated from the steps of the court building, “There are areas of concern that we need to address, and I pledge that we will make those changes … changing the perception of law enforcement begins with us. We must double our efforts to continue to build trust” .
Analysis and Lessons Learned
There has been no follow up from the organizers at this time and there is no evidence that the process has had any impact on policy.
 Belson, Ken. (2018, July 25). Defying n.f.l., Jerry Jones says players must stand for the anthem. The New York Times.
 Coello, S. (2016, September 16). Activists march with coffins at AT&T stadium to protest Botham Jean killing. Dallas News.
 Fox4News. (2018, September 17). Demonstrators gather outside AT&T stadium to protest recent police shootings.
 Garnham, J., McCullough, J. (2019, October 2). Amber Guyger trial highlighted why Dallas communities of color often distrust law enforcement. The Texas Tribune.
 Hanna, B. and Stevenson, S. (2018, September 19). Demonstrators carrying coffins ask Jerry Jones to join social injustice movement. Star-Telegram.
 Martin, N. (2018, November 4). 'We're at war': Anger, questions mount after a traffic stop ends in a fatal shooting by police in Arlington. Dallas News.
 Young, R. (2018, September 16). Watch: Dallas protestors, led by pastor Freddy Haynes, demonstrate outside cowboys stadium over police shooting deaths of Botham Jean and O’Shae terry. Black Christian News.
 Wikipedia (2019) Police brutality.
The first version of this case entry was written by Linda Dipert, a Master of Public Service candidate at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, and then edited. The views expressed in the entry are those of the authors, editors, or cited sources, and are not necessarily those of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.