Denton Mayor Chris Watts issued a local order, effective as of 5 p.m. Sunday, to encourage peaceful demonstrations and protests within the City.
Since the death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis, demonstrations have taken place in many urban areas across the nation. While most have been conducted peacefully, some cities experienced violence that resulted in injuries and significant property damage.
“Out of an abundance of caution, with several events planned within Denton, and with some threatening to engage in possible violence, the order is a step to ensure that, in the event a demonstration experiences destructive elements, any chance of injury to those present or damage to surrounding property is reduced,” stated a press release from the City.
A curfew has been established for areas downtown, the Denton County Courthouse, Jail Facility, and other Denton County building complexes from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. from Sunday, May 31, 2020 through Sunday, June 7, 2020. Click here to read the signed order and map.
“Like many of you, I was deeply shocked and saddened by the senseless killing of George Floyd,” said Mayor Watts. “ I support the right of every citizen to peacefully protest to express their anger, sadness and call for reform; however, at this time we must do all we can to protect those in attendance, other bystanders, and the surrounding area from any potential harm. This order will help ensure our residents will make it home safely and protect private property from damage.”
The Denton Police Department will conduct its regular patrols in the designated areas, adjusting the number of officers on hand based on expected crowds, according to the press release.
“The Denton Police Department understands the need for change and embraces the coming together with our community to identify and address the areas where we can implement change,” Chief of Police Frank Dixon said. “The Denton Police Department will continue working with the community to keep everyone safe so residents can exercise their constitutionally protected rights.”
The order expires after seven days, unless extended by a vote of the Denton City Council.