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From The Texas Tribune—
AUSTIN—Gov. Greg Abbott announced Sunday afternoon that the entire state of Texas will be placed under a disaster declaration in response to demonstrators in several Texas cities protesting the death of George Floyd, a black man killed earlier in Minneapolis police custody.
The declaration allowed Abbott to designate federal law enforcement officers to perform the duties of peace officers in Texas.
Thousands of protesters marched in Texas cities on Friday and Saturday, outraged after Floyd was filmed crying out for help as a white police officer pinned him to the ground with a knee to his neck. Officer Derek Chauvin was later arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
“Every Texan and every American has the right to protest and I encourage all Texans to exercise their First Amendment rights,” Abbott said. “However, violence against others and the destruction of property is unacceptable and counterproductive.”
His announcement comes a day after he activated the Texas National Guard “in response to protest violence” across the state. In several of the state’s large metropolitan areas — including Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio — protesters clashed with police who sometimes used rubber bullets and tear gas.
Abbott also sent state resources to Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio on Saturday afternoon and said he’s spoken to the mayors of all four cities, as well as law enforcement officials.
He said Sunday that he also increased those resources for cities throughout Texas and that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has deployed tactical teams to assist state and local law enforcement.