Texas Governor Greg Abbott today declared a State of Disaster for all Texas counties in the midst of violent protests that endanger public safety and threaten property loss and damage. Under this declaration, the Governor has the ability to designate federal agents to serve as Texas Peace Officers.
"Every Texan and every American has the right to protest and I encourage all Texans to exercise their First Amendment rights," said Governor Abbott. "However, violence against others and the destruction of property is unacceptable and counterproductive. As protests have turned violent in various areas across the state, it is crucial that we maintain order, uphold public safety, and protect against property damage or loss. By authorizing additional federal agents to serve as Texas Peace Officers we will help protect people’s safety while ensuring that peaceful protesters can continue to make their voices heard."
In response, Abbott surged substantial statewide resources to cities throughout Texas in response to escalating protest violence. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has also deployed tactical teams to assist state and local law enforcement. The Governor has ordered thousands more troopers to these cities and more than one thousand National Guard to assist the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and local law enforcement in their efforts. These efforts are in addition to the Governor’s actions yesterday when he deployed DPS troopers to Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin and activated the Texas National Guard.
“Texans First Amendment rights are absolute and will always be protected,” said Governor Abbott. “But violence, vandalism, and looting will not be tolerated in this state and those found in violation of the law will be arrested and prosecuted.”
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