HOUSTON — If you want to come to Texas to cause problems during peaceful protests in honor of George Floyd, you have another thing coming. That thing is the federal government.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday that anyone who is from out of state and comes to Texas to engage in "looting, violence, or other destructive acts" 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. "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."
Abbott made the announcement alongside John F. Bash, Erin Nealy Cox, Stephen J. Cox and Ryan K. Patrick, four United States attorneys. The attorneys said they will work alongside local prosecutors and law enforcement officials to "aggressively identify crimes that violate federal law."
The move comes after a weekend of unrest across the country. Protests have turned violent in several United States cities, but Houston has remained mostly peaceful. On Sunday, Mayor Sylvester Turner expressed how proud he was that Houston's protests have been mostly peaceful.
George Floyd's death has sparked protests across the world, some peaceful and others violent.
Floyd died in Minneapolis on May 25 when an officer was seen on video kneeling on his neck for nearly 11 minutes in an attempt to detain him for what police called a non-violent forgery.
Derek Chauvin was identified as the officer seen on video with his knee on Floyd's neck while Floyd was pleading, "I can't breathe."
Chauvin and three other officers were fired following his death, but protesters took the street of Minneapolis to demand the officers be charged.
It was until four days later that Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The three other officers who were at the scene have not been charged.
The news of Chauvin's arrest hasn't stopped protesters from continuing to gather in cities like New York, Chicago and Atlanta to demand justice for Floyd and speak out about police brutality.
Many of the protests around the country have led to the looting of businesses and more violence between citizens and police officers.
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