Abbott, U.S. attorneys announce federal prosecution for rioters

Gov. Greg Abbott, along with all four U.S. attorneys in Texas, announced Monday that anyone who comes to Texas from another state to engage in looting, violence or other destructive acts in violation of federal law will be subject to federal prosecution.

The governor is scheduled to hold a news conference in Dallas Tuesday after riots broke out in the city over the weekend.

The four U.S. attorneys – John F. Bash, Erin Nealy Cox, Stephen J. Cox, and Ryan K. Patrick – will work with local prosecutors and law enforcement to aggressively identify crimes that violate federal law, the governor’s office said in a statement.

“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 and the U.S. Attorneys said in a joint statement. “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.”

Dallas police on Monday released the names of 61 people who were arrested over the weekend; only 16 live in Dallas.

On Sunday, WFAA News identified 30 people arrested on riot-related charges from the department’s arrest database. They were residents of Bridgeport, Burleson, Denton, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Irving, Lewisville, Terrell, The Colony and Wichita Falls and Knoxville, Tenn.

Abbott on Sunday declared a State of Disaster for all counties after violent rioting erupted, which gave him the authority to designate federal agents to serve as Texas Peace Officers.

He also ordered thousands of state troopers and 1,000 National Guard members to assist the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and local law enforcement in their efforts in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also deployed tactical teams to assist state and local law enforcement.

Abbott will participate in a briefing and host a news conference on the state’s response to continued protest violence on Tuesday at Dallas City Hall. He will be joined by Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Colonel Steve McCraw, Adjutant General of the Texas National Guard Major General Tracy Norris, Dallas Police Department Chief Reneé Hall, and Fort Worth Police Chief Ed Kraus.

Officers said they arrested more than 100 people on riot-related charges on Saturday and 120 people on Sunday, WFAA News reported.

“A large number of them are not members or residents of the city of Dallas,” Hall said. “They come from multiple locations.”

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