DALLAS, Texas - On Tuesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott and other state and local leaders provided a briefing in Dallas on the state’s response to the violence, rioting, and looting that has occurred during some protests.
During the briefing, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Colonel Steve McCraw said “Antifa” is to blame for the looting that took place at the Capital Plaza Target in Austin Sunday.
“[The looting] was done and organized by an Antifa web page and of course the surveillance that was provided over the internet identifying where law enforcement resources were staged was done over Antifa accounts,” said McCraw.
The Anti-Defamation League describes Antifa as an anti-fascist group with many anti-police anarchists in their ranks, adding that the loosely organized group is known to use violent tactics. “Criminals who are hijacking peaceful protests in order to plunder and loot,” said Abbott.
McCraw says that DPS has embedded special agents working to identify criminals trying to take advantage of these demonstrations. “There’s no question that there is involvement of these violent extremists that are trying to exploit these things. But, the majority of the people that are protesting are doing it for lawful reasons,” he said.
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During the briefing, McCraw and other officials stressed the importance of protecting peaceful protesters and preventing anarchists from hijacking their movement.
"Ironically those acts of violence and vandalism, they are overshadowing the death of George Floyd rather than shining a light on the injustice that occurred," Abbott said. "They drown out the voices of those who are seeking to protest peacefully.”
Sunday, President Trump tweeted that he plans to designate Antifa as a terrorist organization. Though, it remains unclear how that would happen legally. The group is entirely domestic, so the suggestion has raised concern about the potential violation of First Amendment rights.
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