NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – Outrage is erupting over an image that shows a Black Lives Matter flag being dragged under a pickup truck during a weekly parade supporting President Trump in New Braunfels.
The group that organizes the demonstrations denounced the act. And members of the Martin Luther King Jr. Association in New Braunfels are now calling for action and accountability.
“I think we all feel the same -- that that refers to all the lynching and the dragging,” said Henry Ford, founder of the Martin Luther King Jr. Association. “This type of racism, we don’t need that here in New Braunfels.”
“Acts like that produce ramifications that can explode into something ugly. And we certainly don’t want that to happen,” said Bishop Michael Franklin, president of the Martin Luther King Jr. Association.
The YouTube video showing the flag being dragged that was posted by the Trump Train organization has since been deleted, and the organization’s founder, Steve Ceh, said the person who dragged the flag is not a part of their group.
Ceh sent the following statement, denouncing the act:
New Braunfels residents who felt threatened by the image say they are hoping for this type of accountability.
“The line has been crossed. We need to talk. We need to figure this out before someone gets hurt,” said Dr. Jessica Edwards, who lives in New Braunfels and runs a medical practice in the community.
On Tuesday afternoon, members of the MLK Jr. Association had a Zoom meeting with the mayor of New Braunfels to speak about ways to ensure accountability.
More meetings between the organizations are to follow.
New Braunfels Mayor Rusty Brockman on Wednesday sent the following statement:
"In recent days, New Braunfels has experienced divisiveness. Some members of our community have felt attacked, demoralized, misunderstood, and concerned. This is not the New Braunfels that I know and love. Our community is known for its caring and supportive personality.
A group of residents have been holding a weekly event which organizers describe as a patriotic demonstration to spread the positive message about the current President. This event has grown significantly in recent weeks and attracted increased attention. Some images and social media posts associated with that demonstration have caused angst and uneasiness in our community.
The organizers of the Trump Train NB have assured me that the individuals in those photos and making those social media posts are not affiliated with their organization and that anyone who joins the organization with the purpose of spreading a message of hate is not welcome.
While all individuals and groups have the right to freedom of speech and to peaceably assemble, in New Braunfels, we expect that it is done in a lawful, safe, peaceful, and respectful manner. I do not condone any activity, symbolism, speech, or imagery with overt or implied racism or hatred. We take these matters very seriously and will not turn a blind eye to issues that make our residents feel threatened or afraid.
I have met with the organizers of the Trump Train NB and, along with other City leadership, am working with the MLK Jr. Association, non-profit organizations, and other community leaders to ensure our community continues to be inclusive, supportive and collaborative.
As with other demonstrations or protests, the New Braunfels Police Department will continue to provide a presence at these events to ensure safety and security for participants of the demonstrations, onlookers, and bystanders alike.
It has been my honor to work with citizens who are deeply committed to doing the right things to make New Braunfels a better place. We live here because this is the kind of community that we all want to live and raise our families in. I look forward to being part of the work that continues that legacy and helps all residents feel respected, cherished, and valued in our community."