Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for the entire state Sunday in response to violent protests over the death of George Floyd.
The governor’s announcement came after violent clashes between police and demonstrators on Saturday in some of the Lone Star State’s largest cities, including Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, the Texas Tribune reported.
“Every Texan and every American has the right to protest and I encourage all Texans to exercise their First Amendment rights,” Abbott said in a statement. “However, violence against others and the destruction of property is unacceptable and counterproductive.”
The declaration, which allows the governor to designate federal law enforcement officials as Texas peace officers, comes one day after Abbott activated the Texas National Guard to help quell the protests.
The Texas Department of Public Safety has also dispatched more than 1,500 officers to help besieged local police departments deal with the demonstrations, the Tribune said.
Floyd, 46, was suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill when police pinned him to the ground for nearly four minutes despite his pleas that he couldn’t breathe.
Demonstrators from Los Angeles to New York, Chicago to Miami have seen widespread looting, vandalism and arson fires.
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