Timeline: Councilman goes off on people in S.A., angry at looting on seventh day of protests

Protests continued in downtown San Antonio Firday afternoon. Below is a timeline of events.

6:15 p.m. | Marchers arrived back at San Antonio Public Safety Headquarters where they changed tune briefly to sing happy birthday to one of their own. The protest has remained peaceful throughout.

5:20 p.m. | At the courthouse, a series of people gave emotional speeches about their experiences as people of color in America.

One man, Ryan Barrientos, 28, described an encounter he had with police in Savannah, Georgia.

“Even when you think you’re doing everything right, your skin color, they see it as a weapon,” said Barrientos, who teaches history at a Northside ISD middle school.

“I’m sick of coaching my babies on how to die!” a woman in the crowd shouted.

“They will drag you out of your car,” Barrientos continued. “I got pulled out of my car, just because I have a beard, just because I have a tattoo. I was in the military. I was protecting and serving in the infantry!”

Another man who said he was a Marine Corps veteran said he didn’t sign up to serve in the military to see Americans mistreated.

“I lost friends. I lost family over there,” he said. “Now I’m coming back and I’m seeing cops stomp on Americans. This isn’t right. It needs to change.”

4:45 p.m. | As the more than 100 people arrived at the Bexar County Courthouse, Juanita Pelaez-Prada, a 40-year-old attorney, said she is one of the people who want to include the next generation the wave of conversations occurring across the nation about race and equality. Her 7-year-old son, Santiago, accompanied her to the protest.

”He needs to understand everything that is going on right now,” she said, also saying she wants to teach him about the Black Lives Matter movement. “We need to stop this violence. We can’t have another generation of kids being killed.”

4:35  p.m. | San Antonio police said rumors of an active shooter situation at Travis Park began circulating Twitter Friday afternoon. Police say there is no active shooting.

4:20 p.m. | The protesters have begun their march to Bexar County Courthouse, chanting “Black Lives Matter,” And “Hands up. Don’t Shoot.”

4:10 p.m. | Pharaoh Clark, one of the organizers of the recent protests, said talks with Mayor Ron Nirenberg have been ongoing.

“I really believe he wants to make a change and wants to know how we feel,” Clark said. “He (Nirenberg) said he wants to be held accountable and I promise that I will do that.”

Antonio Lee, another protest organizer, said those involved with the downtown protests have received word that other groups with different intentions then those gathered at SAPD headquarters are planning a protest at the Pearl. Lee did not elaborate on what he meant by different intentions.

Young Ambitious Activists is the organization Lee is involved with and one of the groups that has been managing the peaceful protests downtown.

4 p.m. p.m. | District 8 Councilman Manny Pelaez addressed the crowd shortly before the march.

“The murder of black Americans is a pandemic. More dangerous than a coronavirus,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little bit of liberty? Little bit of justice, little bit of peace?”

He asked if they, too, grew angry when people immediately tried to add qualifiers to the statement, “Black Lives Matter.” Those people, he said, were part of the problem.

Pelaez also said people more angry with the looting and vandalism of buildings and businesses downtown during previous protests were part of the problem.

“If you’re the kind of person that got more angry at a few windows getting broken than a man being murdered on TV in front of millions of Americans, you’re part of the problem.”

His words were met with applause from the crowd.

3:40 p.m. | Demonstrators defused would could have been a tense moment early on when an older white men walked up and asked, “Hey, are you guys going to burn up the city or what?”

Over a loud speaker, organizer Katelyn Menard said she was glad he asked the question and said their movement was not about violence. The man said the members of the group needed to educate themselves before repeatedly saying, “All lives matter.”

The other protesters started trying to drown him out with a chant of “Black Lives Matter,” but Menard stopped them.

“I need y’all to stay calm,” she said to them, before turning back to the man, who then said Rosa Parks was one of his heroes.

“All lives matter. We’re not discarding all lives,” Menard said. “However, black lives have been shunned in this country for a long time. And yet when we say anything that refers to the black race, people get so defensive about it. We’re just proud to be black, and we want to celebrate that.”

The man tried to keep debating, but he walked off when Menard stopped engaging and began moving on to a moment of silence for Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was shot to death by police while sleeping in her home. Friday would have been Taylor’s 27th birthday.

3:00 p.m. | Groups are starting to gather at San Antonio Public Safety HQ at 315 S. Santa Rosa for today’s Black Lives Matter protest, which should be starting in a few moments. Saturday marks the seventh day of protests in San Antonio.

Anthony Sanchez, an organizer of the protest, urged the crowd before the march begins to remain peaceful and to not cause any violence during the protest.

During Friday’s protest, Mayor Ron Nirenberg came out and spoke to the protesters, telling them to “hold him accountable.”

Lexi Qaiyyim, 24, an organizer of the protest, said she hopes the mayor puts some action behind his words.

“Those words that he said, they are not just words to us,” she said before the march started. “We need their to be action behind his words.”

She added today’s protest is a reminder to the mayor and to local government officials that they want change.

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