A group of armed far-leftists drove off Dallas city officials in an effort to prevent a homeless and vagrant encampment from being cleaned up.
Members of a local group called the Elm Creek John Brown Gun Club armed themselves with rifles and other weapons to stop the city’s attempt to remove a homeless and vagrant encampment under the Highway 45 overpass on Coombs Street just south of downtown Dallas.
A memorandum issued on June 24 by City Manager T. C. Broadnax explained that the group “is currently targeting several encampments, which will result in closure through the housing of those unsheltered individuals throughout the year.”
The memo clarified, “The team will outreach to these sites and meet with various persons experiencing homelessness to assess their needs in preparation for site closure…During this time, the OHS Street Outreach Team will continue to engage with unsheltered residents through normal street outreach.”
Dallas residents are encouraged to “report a homeless encampment” through the city’s 3-1-1 non-emergency line.
The city quotes a “service resolution estimate” of 25 calendar days to clear an encampment.
Director of the Office of Homeless Solutions Christine Crossley told The Dallas Express that many of their efforts show positive results in delivering practical help to those in need.
The local Elm Fork branch explained in their Twitter bio that they are “promoting and assisting marginalized communities in organizing community defense against white supremacists/fascism.”
The group explicitly claimed they are “not a militia” but rather a “non-political mutual-aid collective…rooted in skill & resource sharing, community defense training, self-defense training, & a centering/uplifting of marginalized voices within that space.”
On July 21, the club called for activists to join in an effort to stop city officials from “sweeping” or clearing out a homeless and vagrant camp on Coombs Street.
They wrote that “the City of Dallas has gone on a blitz of destroying establish [sic] unhoused camps in the past few weeks. Community members have lost everything, shelter, transportation, clothes, food, ID documents, items of personal importance.”
An attached image informed followers that “open carry” volunteers were “preferred.”
The club emphasized gun safety, noting in the same thread, “Safety comes first! Have your weapons properly secured and handle them responsibly at all times.” Tips included ensuring the weapon’s safety was engaged and keeping fingers off triggers.
The following day, July 22, JBGC members, alongside several other groups, prevented city officials and law enforcement officers from entering the encampment.
The following Monday, July 25, members again went to Coombs Street to prevent the encampment from being removed, but the city made no effort to repeat its attempt.
The Elm Fork JBGC has engaged aggressively in other events around Dallas. On June 24, it announced via Twitter that “around 40 heavily armed antifascist activists assembled in the Gayborhood of Dallas to send a message to Christian Fascism… ‘We are not afraid. We will not go back. We will bash back.”
The accompanying video received over 200,000 views and showed the group walking down the street, several armed with rifles and equipped with armored plates.
Crossley spoke with The Dallas Express regarding the incident with JBGC and appealed for a peaceful, cooperative resolution so that the needs of the “unsheltered population” could be better addressed, stating that the city was not there to prevent people from living there but to provide cleaning services.
“I think there was a misunderstanding there. I think it was very clear to us that the armed activists didn’t understand what we were there to do, and there really wasn’t any room to educate them on that. They weren’t interested in talking,” she explained.
When explicitly asked about JBGC, Crossley reiterated, “It was pretty clear to us that the armed presence didn’t understand why we were there, and we know from prior interactions…that there was no interest in conversation.”
Crossley explained that city officials decided give into the group’s demands “in the interest of protecting the people there, which was us, not only them [the JBGC] but the unsheltered people who are there who are already deeply vulnerable.”
She encouraged JBGC to contact the Office of Homeless Solutions anytime:
“We ask that it be done in a way that is positive and not combative and violent because that really doesn’t get anything done.”
She also suggested that residents and groups join the city in partnering with several of the city’s programs that have allegedly made significant strides in delivering effectual aid to the homeless and vagrant.
“We’ve housed almost a thousand people through [Dallas R.E.A.L. Time Rapid Housing], and we won’t reach a year into the program until October. That is historic for Dallas and for North Texas,” Crossley explained. “I think the way that we got there is through collaboration and partnership and realizing that this issue is bigger than any of us.”