LINDALE, Texas — On Saturday, a group of Black Lives Matter demonstrators gathered in Lindale in response to a viral TikTok video showing a Lindale student dressed as a police officer kneeling on another person's neck.
The TikTok, made by another Lindale student, states that the student who dressed as a police officer appeared to be mocking the death of George Floyd, who was killed by police in Minnesota last year.
"It's awful. Like how can you recreate somebody's death?" said Laya Washington, a local activist who organized Saturday's protest.
Washington says that the response to the video is only one of the many reasons they marched in Lindale.
"We're just down here to remind Lindale, Texas that Black lives still matter and that we won't stand and be quiet," Washington said.
The protestors started at Darden Park before making their way around the entire downtown area of Lindale.
Some Lindale High School students like Ashlei Smith participated today, saying she came out because she's unhappy with the actions taken by the school.
"I want to see repercussions actually happening for racism and inequality and judgments," Smith said. "... My heart broke. I was in disbelief that [the student] did that."
Lindale ISD released a statement about the video earlier in the week, stating that the school district "does not publicly comment on student discipline issues."
"The incident in question did not happen at school or at a school sponsored event," Stan Surratt, Lindale ISD Superintendent, said in the statement. "There are several accusations about the actions of Lindale ISD that are simply untrue and are misleading the public about this incident. Lindale ISD has a reputation of being very accepting and fair to all students and families, while having a culture that is safe and respectful for all. Lindale ISD will make no further comment about this incident but will continue to work and have an open conversation with parents and students that are involved.”
Former student Samantha Rodden started an online petition calling for Lindale ISD to take action against the student.
"In like 36 hours, it gained about 12,000 signers, and it just began to spread," Rodden said. "And so far, we just passed 30,000 signatures."