EL PASO, Texas -- A 'Defund Police' protest and a counter-protest in support of the El Paso Police Department are planned for Wednesday evening at Cleveland Square Park downtown.
During the days of protests after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, several videos emerged of alleged acts of police brutality. For example the 75-year-old man who was pushed down to the ground by police in Buffalo; two upstate New York police officers are now facing felony assault charges in that case.
As these types of incidents continue to play in in the public eye, calls are intensifying to "defund police."
For some, defunding police means taking away most all funding for police departments, while for others it means redirecting police monies to other programs involving education, health care and housing.
"The issue at hand is police tactics and the use of force," said state Sen. Jose Rodriguez. "There is much division over the application of police force. We can't put our heads in the sand and blame young people, or criminals or agitators. What we are seeing across the country is a legitimate outpouring of public sentiment."
A protest flyer for the "Defund Police" protest was circulating social media, but it was unclear who is responsible for organizing it. A half-hour before that protest, counter-protesters are expected to gather in the same location in support of EPPD.
"There's definitely different ways that we can address any problems that may exist, but specifically in the El Paso Police Department, I think we are very fortunate to have an amazing police force," said Bethany Hatch, organizer of the counter-protest and a candidate for Rodriguez's senate seat. "Defunding isn't the right conversation."
There appeared to be no permit application filed with the city for either protest. As to how they will handle the pair of dueling protests, a police spokesperson told ABC-7: "Plans will be made to address accordingly."