“Texans must be able to exercise their First Amendment rights without fear of having agitators, including those coming from out-of-state, hijack their peaceful protest,” Abbott and the U.S. attorneys said in a press release.
At the governor’s request, the Texas Department of Public Safety has sent about 1,000 officers to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex to provide tactical assistance in maintaining order among demonstrations, per a separate press release on Tuesday.
Across the U.S. and even internationally, demonstrators are protesting unjust police violence against black Americans after the death of George Floyd, a native Texan who was suffocated by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Memorial Day.
The police officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired and originally charged with third-degree murder, but the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office announced today that the indictment against Chauvin has been escalated to second-degree murder.
Three police officers who were with Chauvin when Floyd was killed have also been charged with aiding and abetting Floyd’s death and face decades in prison if convicted.
Many protests have turned violent and arsonous, causing incalculable damage to small businesses that are already hurting due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Wall Street Journal reported today that the destruction has disproportionately affected racial minority communities.
The governor expressed agreement with many peaceful protesters at a press conference on Tuesday, calling Chauvin’s actions a “horrific act of police brutality.”
However, Abbott vehemently condemned violence and destruction of property.
“You know, ironically, those acts of violence and vandalism are overshadowing the death of George Floyd rather than shining a light on the injustice that occurred,” Abbott said.
Affirming Abbott’s warnings were U.S. attorneys John F. Bash, Erin Nealy Cox, Stephen J. Cox, and Ryan K. Patrick.
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."