Houston 101

Video Shows Protesters Arrested at Anti-Trump Rally for Trying to Cross Street

Five activists were arrested at an anti-Donald Trump rally last night that began at City Hall and ended outside the Houston Police Department as marchers expressed their disapproval with the next president of the United States, yelling, "We reject the president-elect!" and "Fuck Donald Trump!" for blocks.

Houston Police Department jail records show the protesters were each charged with assaulting a police officer. A mix of students and prominent activists, they include 27-year-old Bryan Sweeney; 22-year-old Emily Garcia; 40-year-old Sheree Dore; 27-year-old Joseph Wade; and 23-year-old Michael Kouznetson.

From a video of at least two arrests captured by activist Ashton P. Woods, the footage appears to show police pulling the protesters from the sidewalk after they wouldn't stop asking why police would not let them cross the street.

The video, which may not have captured the entire interaction between police and protesters, does not appear to show any demonstrators provoking police, even though the Texas penal code requires causing physical contact with another person — or threatening to harm a person — in order to be charged with assault. Asked for an explanation for the assault charges, Houston Police Department spokesman Kese Smith said he and other public information officers do not have access to the offense reports right now because of the holiday, and could not provide additional information.

Here's what we gathered simply from watching:

At the intersection of Travis and Preston near Market Square, one group of protesters attempt to cross the street to join demonstrators on the other side, but police on horses and on foot tell them they cannot cross. The protesters continue to ask why not and say, "When the light changes, we have the right to use the sidewalk!"

"I'm gonna have to tell you no," one officer says during the video, repeatedly saying they cannot cross the street, though without providing an explanation to the increasingly agitated protesters.

Moments later, an officer pulls a young man out of the crowd and takes him away, and another officer pulls a young woman, Emily Garcia, to the ground and places her in handcuffs. Garcia had been asking police why the group could not cross the street.

"That's my phone and my school bag! I need it for school!" Garcia yells. "I was on the sidewalk! Why are you arresting me!"

Woods follows Garcia as she is taken away in the squad car. She yells out her name and her mother's phone number, asking anybody listening to please give her mom a call.

Watch the incident below:

Watch more footage:

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Meagan Flynn is a staff writer at the Houston Press who, despite covering criminal justice and other political squabbles in Harris County, drinks only one small cup of coffee per day.
Contact: Meagan Flynn