A Texas gun club named after one of the founders of the Black Panthers Party marched in Dallas on Wednesday to protest against police brutality, KTXA-TV reported.
Around two dozen members of the Huey P. Newton Gun Club carried rifles and red, black and green flags as they marched through the city’s south side, sometimes chanting in support of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old man killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 9.
“If they don’t get these killer cops and corrupt cops under control,” a member identifying himself as Commander Drew X was quoted as saying. “What happened in Ferguson is going to be nationwide.”
The club’s leader, Huey Freeman, said Wednesday’s march would be the first step in a campaign of “civilian patrols” through the area. The state’s open carry law allows “long gun” owners to display them unless it is meant “to cause alarm.”
“We believe we can police ourselves and bring security to our community, ridding our community of black-on-black crime, violence, police terror, etcetera, etcetera,” Freeman told KXAS-TV.
Another participant, Priest Brazier, said it took the protests that followed Brown’s shooting to bring the issue of police violence into the public arena.
“If the protests hadn’t happened, you wouldn’t have the attorney general, and all these people, the FBI and the federal people looking at the situation,” said Brazier, a member of the New Black Panther Party. “They normally would have ignored it.”
Huey Newton formed the original Black Panther Party with Bobby Seale in 1966. The group instituted a “ten-point program” for helping the African-American community, which included an end to police brutality, upgraded housing for Black communities, and free healthcare for both Black and “oppressed” communities, among other features. He was shot and killed in August 1989 in Oakland, where his career as an activist began.
Watch WTXA’s report, as aired on Wednesday, below.