FORNEY, Texas — Forney Mayor Mary Penn executed a “Declaration of Local Disaster” for a nighttime curfew for the downtown area beginning on Friday, the same day a peaceful prayer vigil and protest was scheduled.
According to the declaration the hours of the curfew will be from 7 pm until 6 am beginning Friday and “will continue until rescinded, superseded or amended.”
As inForney.com previously reported, an advertised peaceful protest had been scheduled in downtown Forney in front of city hall beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday.
“In some cases, protests and demonstration in response to the death of George Floyd have resulted in property damages, looting, and other civil disturbances. This declaration has been enacted for the safety of property, critical resources, and the residents of Forney,” the city said on Tuesday night via Facebook.
A map of the curfew area was also provided by the city.
The mayor’s and council’s actions also contradict statements made by Forney Police Department on Monday night.
“Members of the Forney Police Department support lawful, peaceful protests and the exercise of First Amendment rights. We have a comprehensive plan in place should assembled protesters engage in unlawful/violent activity, which we will not tolerate. We have extra personnel working and have partnered with several other law enforcement agencies to address violent acts that may occur,” said a statement released by the department.
Protest organizers say they are not surprised by the council's actions. However they are upset that they were told today by city officials that the meeting was not open to the public.
“Mayor Mary Penn and City Manager Tony Carson continues to practice open racism. We have made numerous attempts to communicate with them about the racism that continues to go on across our city. Tonight, goes to show you how racist they really are,” says the protest organizer John Daniels.
“The city police chief called me tonight after the meeting and told us that we must conclude by 7:30 p.m.; then he says 7 p.m. They have no plan, they’re reacting as racists,” Daniels said. “I have ministers and elected officials who have confirmed their attendance and we need clear instructions.”
Daniels says he plans to contact the ACLU and the NAACP for assistance