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DALLAS (AP) — A predominantly Black Dallas church active in the “Black Lives Matter” movement alleges a pro-police rally tried to intimidate its members by roaring into its parking lot Sunday afternoon.
Organizers of the “Back the Blue Cruise” sponsored by clubs of pickup truck and motorcycle owners said about 1,000 vehicles participated in the 100-mile parade through the Dallas-Fort Worth area Sunday afternoon. Organizers said a Friendship-West Baptist Church pastor gave them permission to use its parking lot to rest.
Leaders of the church, which displays a huge “Black Lives Matter” banner on its exterior wall, said in a statement, however, that it was asked to use the parking lot for a “Black Lives Matter” rally, not a “Back the Blue” event.
“The meet up where individuals flew Trump 2020 flags and a Confederate Flag on our parking lot was quickly asked to shut it down and leave,” the statement on the church’s website said.
“On Sunday, August 2, 2020 we experienced deceit, hate and an attempt at intimidation from a large group of individuals in support of “Blue Lives Matter” and also known as “Back The Blue.” This caravan, where individuals flew Trump 2020 flags, at least one Confederate Flag and Back The Blue Flags on our parking lot, was quickly asked to shut down and were escorted off of the property.
This event was only able to happen because of deceitfulness and lies and in no way reflects the mission and ministry of Friendship-West Baptist Church. Please know that our pastor and staff will get to the bottom of this. We sincerely appreciate your support and prayers. May God Bless You All and please stay safe.”
“There are seven or maybe eight mega-churches with big parking lots right in our area. They chose ours, that’s all I’ll say,” senior pastor Frederick Haynes told television station KXAS. “We’re the only one out of those seven or eight that has a ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign up. We’re the only one whose pastor is always out when it comes to these kinds of rallies and takes a stand against injustice. So I think the answer is real clear.”
Some of the rally participants displayed Confederate battle flags and banners supporting President Donald Trump for re-election.
Rally co-organizer Henri Broady, who is Black, said there was no intent to antagonize the church or appear as a political or white supremacy rally and he believed there was a miscommunication. Fellow organizer Nathan Adams also blamed a “communication breakdown” and apologized “for any kind of misconceptions or misunderstandings or anything.”
Nevertheless, some church members responded Sunday evening with a “Black Lives Matter” rally and march at Dallas police headquarters Sunday night.