A man identified as Mr. Beverly has notified Dallas city officials that a “pro-open carry group” will be holding a rally Saturday afternoon in Lee Park, apparently to call on city officials to leave in place the bronze statue of Confederate army Gen. Robert E. Lee, which has stood in the park since it was donated to the city in 1936.
The statue, donated to the city by the Dallas Southern Memorial Association, an organization that reportedly had ties to the KKK, was unveiled by the-President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The park, previously known as Oak Lawn Park, was renamed Lee Park at that time.
According to an email sent out to city staff this afternoon (Wednesday, Sept. 13) by city spokeswoman Vernesha Cathey, Mr. Beverly “has been cooperative and is working with DPD Intelligence Unit detectives regarding rally logistics.”
Cathey’s email continued, “Although preliminary, Mr. Beverly has stated that his group will hold the rally in Lee Park sometime around midday on Saturday and the estimated crowd of 200 will also be armed as they are a pro-open carry group. The organizer is stressing that this is a peaceful event, and is working with DPD.”
Cathey said that “as always,” Dallas police would not interfere with “a lawful and peaceful assembly of any individuals or groups expressing their first amendment rights … .” But officers will not hesitate to step in “if any type of criminal offense is committed against any person or property.”
Officers will also keep demonstrators from impeding traffic in the area or attempting to “shut down a freeway,” Cathey said, stressing that the “safety of our officers and citizens is the primary concern as individuals or groups gather to express their first amendment rights.”
When the rally begins at noon in Lee Park, the Miller Lite Music Festival in the Park, presented by T-Mobile, will have been underway for about an hour at Reverchon Park, located less than a mile away down Turtle Creek Boulevard. The festival at Reverchon Park is part of Dallas’ annual September Pride celebration, and until recent years, was held at Lee Park on the Sunday of the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade.