Artist Gabriel Thomas hugs a Dallas police officer on Main Street. (Photo by Claire Crow)

Along the boarded-up shops Monday morning in Deep Ellum, The Advocate captured a powerful moment between a Dallas Police officer and a local muralist.

The officer approached artist Gabriel Thomas on the sidewalk in front of Crossroads Trading, where the two embraced and exchanged words for a few minutes. Thomas was painting a mural of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old African-American woman who was found hanged in her jail cell in 2015, three days after her arrest at a traffic stop in Texas.

“That was amazing to me because I never thought that I would be that close to a police officer on that level,” Thomas said. “We just said a prayer together for the city and everything that’s been going on. I really appreciated that because times are hard, and we need support from all people from all walks of life.”

Thomas specifically chose to paint Bland on the boards of Crossroads Trading. “This building is called Crossroads, and I wanted everyone to know that I support them. I feel like we are at a time where we are all at a crossroads,” Thomas said.

Thomas has spent the last few days painting murals around Deep Ellum that show George Floyd and other African Americans who have died because of police brutality in Texas.

A mural of George Floyd, Atatiana Jefferson, Jordan Edwards and Botham Jean, painted by Gabriel Thomas. (Photo by Claire Crow)

Thomas has an instagram account (@gabriel7911) where he shares his art and murals around Deep Ellum.

“When I first got to Dallas, I ended up on the street,” he said. “I knew to come to the art district because I wanted to survive and sell my work. Deep Ellum became my home.”

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