Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday that Texas won’t be asking U.S. military to come into the state in response to protests.
“We know that Texans can take care of Texans,” he said at a news conference in Dallas. “We have tremendous police forces in Dallas, in Fort Worth, in the surrounding suburbs, across the entire state.”
The announcement comes a day after President Donald Trump said he would send U.S. military to states that don’t take “necessary” steps to end violent protests. People have been protesting police violence across the U.S., following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer.
You can watch the news conference below:
Abbott said Floyd’s death has “touched every corner of our country” and people are “rightfully angry.” But, he added, violence and vandalism are not the answer.
“They drown out the voices of those who are seeking to protest peacefully,” he said. “In response, Texas is working with local law enforcement and to maintain public order so peaceful protesters can make their voices heard.”
The governor said some of the violence is not being committed by people who live in Texas but by people crossing state lines and hijacking protests in order to loot. KUT found that, in Austin, the vast majority of protesters who were arrested this past weekend were locals.
The mayors of Dallas and Fort Worth shared sentiments similar to Abbott's during the news conference. Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said public officials need to heed protesters’ calls for justice, but people who exploit peaceful protests won’t be tolerated.
“The violence, vandalism and theft that we saw committed by some groups of people over the weekend is not reflective of the city that I know,” he said. “And much of it was perpetrated by people who are not residents of the City of Dallas.”
Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said the state has been investigating criminal conduct and will be making arrests.
“I don’t mind advertising this: we do have special agents embedded trying to identify criminals that are leveraging and using this as an opportunity, exploiting these demonstrations,” he said.
He said some individuals have come from out of state. A looting of a Target in Austin on Sunday, he added, was found to have been organized via an antifa web page.
“No question there is involvement of these violent extremists that are trying to exploit these things,” McCraw said. “But the majority of people that are protesting are doing it for lawful reasons.”
This post has been updated.