AUSTIN, Texas - Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday that any out-of-state agitators will face federal prosecution.
A release from his office says that individuals who come to Texas from out of state to engage in looting, violence, or other destructive acts in violation of federal law will be subject to federal prosecution.
Anyone arrested and charged with such offenses will be transferred to federal custody and that the four US Attorneys in Texas, John F. Bash, Erin Nealy Cox, Stephen J. Cox, and Ryan K. Patrick, will be working with local prosecutors and law enforcement to "aggressively identify crimes that violate federal law."
"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," said Governor Abbott and the U.S. Attorneys in a statement. "Today’s announcement will ensure there are harsh consequences for those breaking the law and that they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
On May 31, Abbott declared a State of Disaster for all Texas counties following protests that erupted across the state on Saturday and Sunday, authorizing all federal agents to act as Texas Peace Officers during the continuing protests.
People across the state, the country, and the world participated in protests over the weekend following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd died while in police custody a week ago after former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes.
Chauvin was seen in disturbing videos kneeling on Floyd’s neck as Floyd repeatedly pleaded “I can’t breathe.” Chauvin continued to press his knee onto Floyd’s neck even after he lost consciousness. None of the other officers at the scene attempted to check on Floyd until after the ambulance arrived, despite bystanders’ pleas.
Floyd later died at the hospital. His death has sparked national outrage.