Thursday, July 07, 2016

Shots Fired During Dallas Protest
Dallas police huddle behind squad cars after shots fired at protest rally on Thursday, July 7, 2016.


A protest in Dallas turned violent when shots were fired. There are unconfirmed reports that one or more Dallas police officers were struck.

The shots were fired at at approximately 8:45am CST on Thursday night, as hundreds of protesters marched in Downtown Dallas to protest recent police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana. The Dallas protests were one of various protests held across the nation Thursday night in New York, Washington, D.C., Miami, Baton Rouge and other cities.

There are unconfirmed reports that two police officers were shot around the intersection of Market and Commerce in downtown Dallas. The scene remains active, and police officers can be seen in a defensive position with their guns drawn.

"At first I thought it was a firecracker," one witness, Clarissa Myles, told CBS News. "I saw at least 30 shots go off."

Earlier tonight, in cities across the country, protesters pounded the pavement to express their heartbreak, fury and frustration over the murders of two unarmed black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, this week. Video footage of both murders, shared widely on the internet, has helped narrow the emotional distance the American public usually feels in police shootings of black Americans.

In St. Paul, Minnesota -- where Philando Castile was killed during a routine traffic stop with his girlfriend watching -- hundreds marched to the Governor's Mansion alongside the victim's mother, Valerie Castile, who is just one day into mourning her son's death, CBS Minneapolis affiliate WCCO reported.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has said that, in his opinion, police officers acted "way in excess" in shooting and killing Castile and would not have done so if he was white. The moment after Castile's shooting were captured by Castile's girlfriend, Lavisha Reynolds, who turned on Facebook's live streaming feature seconds after her boyfriend was shot and narrated the entire encounter to her network.

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where Alton Sterling was murdered, protesters gathered outside the Living Faith Christian Center with fists raised and chants on "No justice, no peace," according to CBS Baton Rouge affiliate WAFB. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards addressed protesters at a prayer vigil directly before the protest.

In New York, approximately 1,000 demonstrators marched from Union Square to Times Square.

In Washington, D.C., throngs of protesters gathered outside Capitol Hill and joined in song, swaying side to side to "We Shall Overcome." They chanted the now-familiar refrains: "Black lives matter" and "Hands up, don't shoot."

In Chicago, one group of protesters gathered outside a South Side police headquarters before taking their rally to the Dan Ryan Expressway, where they blocked traffic for several minutes, CBS Chicago affiliate WBBM reported. Another group of demonstrators marched downtown and reportedly tried to take their protest into the city's popular "Taste of Chicago" event in Grant Park, WBBM reported.

"It's just like we're animals," Philando Castile's sister, Alize Castile, said today. "It's basically modern-day lynching that we're seeing going on, except we're not getting hung by a tree anymore - we're getting killed on camera."

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