West Baptist Church took to social media to express its outrage after a caravan supporting the Blue Lives Matter movement used its parking lot Sunday morning.
Plainclothes Dallas police were at Friendship-West Baptist Church at 2020 W. Wheatland Road in Dallas about noon to monitor the Back the Blue Cruise. The event, conducted by the Texas Ram Club and North Texas Jeep Club, caravans along a route in support of law enforcement.
The route, which started in Bedford, had a planned pit stop at the church. As the group arrived at the church, nearly 1,000 motorists entered the parking lot, which had only one entrance and exit, police said. Officers were dispatched to provide traffic control, and police said the parking lot was cleared by about 1:00 p.m.
Dallas police said that though organizers had sought a permit to get a police escort for the caravan, the request had been denied and officers did not serve as escorts for the event.
Organizers of the Back the Blue Cruise said they’d received approval from the church to stop in the parking lot and also got permission to delay their departure time from noon to 12:45 p.m
Although police also said in a written statement that event organizers had received permission from the church staff to use the lot as a rest stop, Friendship-West said that was not true in a video posted Sunday afternoon on Twitter.
Pastor Frederick D. Haynes, state Sen. Royce West, Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price and a group of church supporters came out to the church in response to the group, according to WFAA TV.
Senior pastor Frederick Douglass Haynes said the church had given another organization permission to use the lot for a Black Lives Matter rally. That gathering was Sunday afternoon, he said.
“The mess that went down this morning was an act of intimidation, and they know good and well that they lied,” – Haynes said.
He said Back the Blue Cruise participants waved Trump 2020 and Confederate flags outside the church, which has a large Black Lives Matter banner on display.
“This event was only able to happen because of deceitfulness and lies and in no way reflects the mission and ministry of Friendship-West Baptist Church,” the church said on social media. “Please know that our pastor and staff will get to the bottom of this.”
Reuben Lael was in the crowd.
“Friendship West has a Black Lives Matter sign on its building, which is rare for a church to be as vocal and visible on their stance,” Lael said. “For an organized group that does not agree with that position, to select that site for whatever they planned to do, it’s disrespectful, unacceptable and that’s why we’re out here today.”
The group of around 100 people marched peacefully through downtown Dallas.
“‘Blue lives matter,’ or whatever you’re talking about — at this point, if you ain’t saying ‘black lives matter,’ you might as well have a Klan rally,” Haynes said in a video posted to the church’s social media accounts.