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July 4th Incident - BLM Open Letter

Letter Signed by UUCBV BOT

as Concerned Supportive Community Members

  • In an effort to support our Bryan/College Station BLM Neighbors, the BOT decided to sign the July 4th, BLM Open Letter.

  • The UUCBV BOT signed as Concerned Supportive Community Members.

  • The Brazos UU Confronting Our Racism Group (CORG) will continue to work with Ebony Peterson and Tre Watson, co-founders of BLM-BCS.

  • To participate in a discussion about what happened on July 4th in Bryan, please go to:

Repairing, Restoring, & Strengthening Our Village: a Town Hall & Forum THURSDAY, JULY 22, 2021 AT 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

@ Brazos Valley African American Museum

  • If you would like to participate in the CORG as it tries to develop relationships with the community of color in our area and understand institutional racism, please contact Pam Johnson -

To Whom It May Concern:

We are writing this letter to gain better understanding and clarity regarding the actions of the Bryan Police Department (BPD) on July 4, 2021, in the E. MLK neighborhood. This incident brings to light the consistent pattern of racial profiling by the BPD.

Many of us first learned of this incident when a BPD officer took to social media claiming to have been violently attacked and seriously injured while on duty July 4, 2021. The heavily edited video that has since been released by the BPD paints a very different picture of the events that occurred.

Prior to any fireworks or festivities to celebrate 4th of July, the BPD had deployed a Direct Detainment Team (DDT) to the E. MLK Blvd in “anticipation” of illegal activity. We would like some clarification as to why they felt it necessary to deploy a team in advance to a majority minority occupied neighborhood. What other areas and neighborhoods were patrolled by these tactical units? We would like further clarification as to the decision and decision-making process that went into the deployment of the DDT.

The incidents that occurred on the evening of July 4, 2021, were instigated by white men in trucks driving up and around the area shouting racial slurs and profanities with the intention to stir racial tension. This is a violation of Texas Penal Code 42.01 section 1 regarding Disturbing the Peace/Public Nuisance. What actions have been taken to apprehend and prosecute these people and prevent future disturbances of this nature?

No one has denied there were violations of the Bryan City Ordinance banning fireworks; however, the efforts to curtail those violations were excessive and targeted only at a minority community, despite there being violations on every street in the greater BCS community. Why was this minority community targeted in advance and not protected from racial bigotry?

When we observe police and peace officers, we see that there tends to be a significant difference between how officers interact with white citizens versus citizens of color. This racial bias is clear in the Traffic Stop Data Report. In 2019 Black residents made up 17% of the Bryan population, 24% of the traffic stops and 43% of searches. In 2020, these numbers did not change for the better. In fact, just looking at the disparity in white drivers being let off with a warning versus receiving a citation, in 2020 out, of 6,382 verbal warnings issued, only 29% of those were issued to African American drivers versus 36% of verbal warnings that went to white drivers. Written warnings offer even more glaring favoritism. White drivers receive 52% of written warnings, while just 18% of written warnings are issued to Black drivers. So, a white driver is 2.89 times more likely to receive a written warning than a Black driver in Bryan.

The most clear and evident instance of racial profiling, however, lies within searches. Out of a total of 866 vehicles searched during a routine traffic stop, 400 of those were Black drivers. Forty-five percent of all searches were conducted on Black drivers, where white drivers make up only 25% of searches despite accounting for the majority of the population and all traffic stops. Driving while Black in Bryan, Texas means you are nearly twice as likely to be searched as a white driver.

Being Black in Bryan, Texas makes you nearly three times as likely to face legal repercussions of simple and minor infractions. Why are these minority areas patrolled more heavily than predominantly white areas? How can a police chief offer hugs to children of color one minute, then deploy a tactical unit to unnecessarily slam their older siblings to the ground for “suspicion” of possession of fireworks in the next?

Most of the individuals questioned, arrested, or accosted did not have fireworks, and those that were thrown in the BPD video that was released were being thrown into the street. This was a historically common practice to avoid house and grass fires. In fact, this occurred in every community across the tri-county area. Why was this community singled out and humiliated for the same actions that occurred elsewhere en masse? Why on the same night was this community not protected from hate crimes?

Why were “peace officers” instigating violence and escalating an already tense environment? Are they not trained to de-escalate through non-violent means? Are they that inadequate in managing a crowd? Why did they not reach out to community leaders to try to de-escalate in advance and advise that they would be patrolling the area?

We demand the release of the full and complete bodycam footage of all officers related to these incidents.

We demand that the BPD pursue and prosecute those who were instigating racial tension.

We are asking for a meeting with the beat sergeants.

We are asking for an open discussion with each beat so that we can better understand each other and the work together we share of serving the communities.

And most of all we are asking for transparency, accountability, and a commitment to change.


Ebony Peterson BLM-BCS

Tre Watson BLM-BCS

Lilly McAlister- President, Young Dems BCS

Kristen Sandlin -Community Organizer


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