DALLAS - At the White House Monday evening, President Donald Trump threatened to deploy military resources if states cannot get protests under control. He called on governors to deploy the National Guard.
On Sunday, Governor Greg Abbott activated the guard, sending 1,000 members to major Texas cities with protests, as well as deploying 1,000 state troopers.
“I believe that Texas law enforcement and the Texas National Guard will be able to fully address and keep safe all the needs of all of our communities,” Abbott told FOX 4.
The governor announced Monday that people 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.
“Understand this very important fact, and that is the lead agitators actually are not from Texas,” he said.
Dallas police released a list of 60 arrests made over the weekend. Only one is from out of state, but there are at least 30 more who have been arrested whose identities have not yet been released.
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Abbott will be in Dallas Tuesday to meet with leaders in Dallas and Fort Worth. He said he wants protesters to be able to protest peacefully.
“Listen, what’s happened to George Floyd is a horrific act of police brutality, and it stokes anger among all Americans,” Abbott said. “George Floyd was clearly held captive begging for his life and he should never have been killed. There was no legitimate law enforcement purpose for what happened to George Floyd.”
But Abbott said Texas will not be soft on those committing crimes.
“Texans, we must all unite to use this tragic murder as a catalyst for change, but not as a catalyst for crime,” the governor said. “We must promote peaceful protest and criminal reform. But at the same time, we must protect our communities from criminal looting and property destruction.”
Abbott said he is still concerned about the spread of COVID-19, but he remains focused on that and also on reopening Texas.