Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a State of Disaster Sunday and authorized federal agents to serve as Texas police officers.
“Every Texan and every American has the right to protest and I encourage all Texans to exercise their First Amendment rights,” the governor said in a statement.
“However, violence against others and the destruction of property is unacceptable and counterproductive,” he added. “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.”
Riots have raged across the United States following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died while in police custody. Abbott has called the death of Floyd “horrific” and the “consequence of poor police work.”
“By authorizing additional federal agents to serve as Texas Police Officers we will help protect people’s safety while ensuring that peaceful protestors can continue to make their voices heard,” Abbott said.
Abbott’s announcement comes after he activated the Texas National Guard in response to riots through the state and sent resources to Houston, Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio, the Texas Tribune reports. Rioters have protested, looted, and clashed with police in Houston, Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio.
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