AUSTIN, Texas (KLTV) - On Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott and the four U.S. Attorneys for Texas announced that people who come from out of state to engage in looting, violence, or other destructive acts in violation of federal law will be subject to federal prosecution.
"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," Abbott said in a press release. "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."
According to a press release from Abbott’s office, anyone who is arrested and charged with the above offenses will be transferred to federal custody. The U.S. Attorneys will be working with local prosecutors and law enforcement officials to aggressively identify crimes that violate federal law.
The four U.S. Attorneys who joined Abbott for the announcement include Joh F. Bash, Erin Nealy Cox, Stephen J. Cox, and Ryan K. Patrick, the press release stated.
The announcement from Abbott and the four U.S. Attorneys came in the wake of protests and incidents of violence and unrest that occurred all over the country that were sparked by the death of Texas native George Floyd, who died while he was in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department.
A now-viral video shows Minneapolis PD Officer Derek Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck for at least eight minutes. During that time, Floyd said he couldn’t breathe and begged for help.
Since then, Chauvin has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, according to the Associated Press.
Late last week, Abbott activated more than 1,000 National Guard troops and deployed additional Department of Public Safety troopers to Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin. He also issued a statewide disaster declaration and authorized federal agents to serve as Texas peace officers.