The Dallas 9, as Merritt called them we part of a group of about 100 peaceful protesters, who on Sunday formed a procession carrying two coffins up to the entrance of the AT&T Stadium during the Dallas v. New York Sunday night football game, Merritt explained. They were protesting the deaths of Jean, as well as O’Shae Terry, both of whom were killed in the last two weeks in North Texas. The Dallas 9 split off from the group and obstructed traffic into the game. When officers came to arrest them, according to Merritt, they willingly went and were taken to Arlington City Jail in Arlington, Texas and charged with obstruction of highway passageway, a class B misdemeanor. This is where Merritt starts to take issue, noting in the press release that given the protesters’ peaceful demeanor, officers could have chosen to charge them with a Class C misdemeanor instead, which would have ended in a citation and them being released. Instead the nine “suspects” identified as Stephanie Briant, 29; Darryl Burnham, 31; Miracle Freeman, 29; Arminta Jeffreys, 25; Michael Lowe, 38; Melissa Perry, 33; Davante Peters, 25; Lelani Russell, 25; and Dion Williams, 29, were required to be held overnight.
Fox4News notes that the Class B misdemeanor carries a possible sentence of up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine. It was only on Tuesday morning, almost 48 hours after being arrested that their bail was set at $100 for the traffic obstruction charge. Lowe, who was also charged with resisting arrest, had his bail set at $200, according to the Dallas Morning News.
I just learned the Dallas 9 will spend another night in jail for peacefully protesting brutality. Tues Officer Wiley will be tried for shooting an unarmed man 2x he wrongfully suspected of burglarizing his own car. D-9 have already spent more time in jail then he ever has. pic.twitter.com/mGHOzsN6Pp— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) September 17, 2018
This is a far cry from Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger, who shot and killed Jean in his own apartment, which she allegedly mistook for her own. First of all, it took authorities more than a day to even issue an arrest warrant for Guyger, who later turned herself into the Kaufman County Jail after the fact. After turning herself into Kaufman County Jail, she was released on $300,000 bond and was allowed to walk away free about an hour later. “The officer responsible for the completely unjustifiable shooting death of O’Shae Terry has been returned to light duty and has faced no criminal charges whatsoever,” Merritt wrote in the release. “The officer who shot and killed Botham Jean remains on the Dallas Police force and was able to bond out of manslaughter charges in a fraction of the time the protesters have spent in jail.” “This treatment of citizens outraged by the very corruption from which they now suffer is intolerable,” Merritt added. Intolerable, outrageous, infuriating. But, this is America.
BREAKING: Nearly 48 hours after being arrested for impeding traffic, the #Dallas9 are finally about to be released on $100 bail.— Shaun King (@shaunking) September 18, 2018
They kept them in jail for 2 nights, away from family & jobs, but allowed Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger to be arrested/released in 1 hour. pic.twitter.com/CO9XsvnnLO