Protest on Preston

A man confronts protesters May 2 at the intersection of Preston Road and SH 121.

Traffic was blocked for a short time Sunday afternoon on Preston Road at SH 121 after some protesters made their way onto the street and a motorist took exception.

According to Plano police a protest was organized to take place in Frisco. One woman who attended the protest said it was in support of the family of Marvin Scott III.

Officer David Tilley of the Plano Police Department said Frisco police blocked off a lane of traffic so individuals could protest safely, but he said a group of protesters made their way onto an unblocked lane, causing traffic problems. Tilley added there were no plans for the protest to spill into Plano.

Tilley said a Plano police officer arrived on the scene because of reports of a crash, even though no crash took place.

“It wasn’t until he arrived on scene that he saw that cars in every single direction were backed up and stopped because people were standing in the roadway not allowing them to get through,” Tilley said.

That’s when one man got out of his vehicle and confronted the crowd, according to a video taken at the scene and provided to Star Local Media.

“People are claiming that the guy was armed, and I didn’t see anything in the video that indicated the guy was armed,” Tilley said. “They said he assaulted somebody, and I saw him take a swing at somebody, but it looked like he was trying to knock a phone out of a hand. And I couldn’t tell whether or not he actually hit somebody.”

The resident who sent the video claims the man who confronted the protesters first got in the officer’s face, yells at him and points his finger in his face. The resident said the officer remains calm at that moment.

She said the man then took a swipe at a woman in an effort to knock her phone out of her hand, and then when a group of protesters approached the man he pushed one of them, which she said was local attorney Lee Merritt.

The woman claims the police officer didn’t intervene other than to talk calmly to the man, saying, “please sir, calm down.”

She said the man then got in another protestor’s face and cursed at him before yelling at another protestor. She said the protest group’s safety team claims the man showed a gun. After the crowd dispersed the man then drove away.

The woman questioned why police didn’t arrest the man who was confronting the protestors.

“The officer's trained to deal with situations like that, and he took the best course of action that he felt appropriate at that time,” Tilley said in an interview.  

When asked for comment the Frisco Police Department said, “Frisco Police Department’s involvement with the protest was in a supportive capacity (blocking traffic, etc.) and occurred without incident. As the incident you are referring to occurred in Plano you will need to reach out to the Plano Police Department for further information.”

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