Texas governor announces disaster declaration for state after George Floyd protests

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced a disaster declaration for the state Saturday in response to “violence” across several cities as protests emerged in response to the death of George Floyd

Abbott declared a state of disaster across all counties in Texas. The declaration cites “threats and incidents of violence in several cities across Texas that have endangered public safety.” 

“As protests have turned violent in various areas across the state, it is crucial that we maintain order, uphold public safety, and protect against property damage or loss,” Abbott reportedly said in a statement Sunday. “By authorizing additional federal agents to serve as Texas Peace Officers we will help protect people’s safety while ensuring that peaceful protesters can continue to make their voices heard.”

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Abbott’s disaster declaration comes one day after he deployed the Texas National Guard and prompted the state’s Department of Public Safety to send more than 1,500 officers to help local police departments. 

Abbott said Saturday the resources were being sent to the cities of Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin to help “ensure peaceful protest.” 

"Texas and America mourn the senseless loss of George Floyd and the actions that led to his death are reprehensible and should be condemned in the strongest terms possible,” Abbott said in a statement Saturday. “As Texas exercises their 1st Amendment rights, it is imperative that order is maintained and private property is protected.” 

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Protests, some of them violent, have emerged across the country in response to Floyd’s death. 

Floyd died last week in Minneapolis police custody. A widely shared video shot by a bystander showed a police officer with a knee on Floyd’s neck as he said repeatedly he couldn't breathe. 

Ex-officer Derek Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He and three officers who were not charged were fired by the police department.