How Police Officers Protected Black Lives Matter Protesters During Dallas Shooting

Sherry Williams, left, and Theresa Williams, center, outside Baylor University Medical Center on July 8. Theresa Williams said her sister Shetamia Taylor was shot in her right leg. (Tony Gutierrez/AP)
Sherry Williams, left, and Theresa Williams, center, outside Baylor University Medical Center on July 8. Theresa Williams said her sister Shetamia Taylor was shot in her right leg. (Tony Gutierrez/AP)

When Sharay Santora and her two children first arrived in downtown Dallas on Thursday to join the Black Lives Matter protest, she said the interaction between marchers and officers was peaceful, loving. Officers lined the streets as a massive crowd marched past.

“They gave us high-fives, hugs, were taking selfies,” Santora, 37, told The Post. “It was such an instance of love and understanding, that ‘I’m here for you.’  You could feel it. There was no animosity in the air. That was the feeling throughout.”

Shortly after 9 p.m., near El Centro College, participants turned around to peacefully march back. Then shots rang out. Pause. A second burst of gunfire round. Santora said a man dressed in white, bearing a cross, was yelling at marchers to clear the streets.

“As we were taking cover, you see the Dallas PD and the DART officers turning toward what is active fire,” Santora said.

Chaos erupted, and Santora ran with her 17-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son. Half of the crowd ran off to the left, the other half ran to the right. “You see police officers rushing people off the street, people who froze, telling people to get to the buildings to seek cover.”

In the mayhem, some people fell down, but fellow marchers also helped. “They didn’t get trampled,” Santora said. “People were picking them up as they fell, and carrying them.”

Images and video show officers pulling fallen comrades out of harm’s way, of officers “running toward gunfire, from an elevated position, with no chance to protect themselves and to put themselves in harm’s way, to make sure citizens can get to a place of security,” Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Friday.

Four Dallas police officers and one Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) officer were killed. Seven others were wounded.

Santora said marchers noted “these people who came out to protect us, we’re going to be out there for them.”

She plans to take her children to memorials for the fallen officers, for the same reason she has taken her children to Black Lives Matter demonstrations: “You’re either part of the solution, or you’re part of the problem. Even if you don’t know what to do, you can do something, even if it’s showing love.”

“Murder is murder. They were protecting us, and it’s horrible they lost their lives,” she said. “It happened. We have to continue the conversation.”

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