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Gov. Abbott Says Violence and Vandalism Aren't the Answer, Won't Seek Military Support for Protests

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a statewide disaster on Sunday

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Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday that Texas would not request military support after President Donald Trump threatened to deploy troops across the U.S. to confront violence set off by the death of George Floyd.

Abbott also said he was not asked to send Texas National Guard members to the District of Columbia after days of violent demonstrations there has led to fires, destroyed businesses and the use of tear gas and flashbangs, including on peaceful protesters. Other states, including Mississippi and Utah, were sending in more guardsmen to the nation's capital Tuesday.

A growing number of protesters assembled outside Dallas City Hall to begin another day of protests as Abbott met inside with local officials. One held a sign that read "PROTECT & SERVE US TOO" as the crowd began marching downtown to the chant of "No justice, no peace."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was in Dallas Tuesday to meet with local leaders about area protests that have turned violent in recent days around the police custody death of George Floyd. He said the national guard has been deployed and that the U.S. military will not be necessary because Texans will be able to take care of Texans.

“George Floyd’s death has touched every corner of our country. People are rightfully angry, but the beautiful thing about America is that every person has a right to make their voices heard to protest against this injustice. However, violence and vandalism is never the answer, and they have no place in Dallas, Fort Worth, or anywhere in the state of in Texas, “ said Abbott.

An even larger demonstration was expected later in Houston, where Floyd's family was expected to join protesters in a march through the nation's fourth-largest city. Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis policeman pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes, grew up in Houston and a public memorial and burial is planned there for next week.

Abbott raised his voice while condemning Floyd's death and called Texas a leader in criminal justice reform and mentioned the Sandra Bland Act passed in 2017. The law mandates police de-escalation training and is named after a black woman who died in a Texas jail following a confrontational traffic stop with a white state trooper. Video of the traffic stop and her death stirred national outrage.

Abbott didn't suggest any changes to Texas policing or laws in the wake of Floyd's death, and Democrats criticized his words as insufficient.

GALLERY: Your Protest Photos

More than 3,000 state troopers have been assigned across Texas to bolster local law enforcement amid the protests. Abbot said they have sent more than 1,000 DPS officers along with hundreds of Texas National Guard to the DFW region alone.

President Donald Trump said Monday that if governors were not able to end the violence, he would send in the U.S. Army to end the violence.

“So we will not be asking the United States military to come into the state of Texas because we know that Texans can take care of Texans. We have tremendous police forces in Dallas, in Fort Worth, in the surrounding suburbs across the entire state. We have an abundance of resources that are being provided by the Texas Department of Public safety,” said Abbott.

"Texas National Guard are here for Texans, and that's exactly what they'll be used for," Abbott said when asked whether guardsman would be sent to Washington.

Leaders from Fort Worth and Dallas are joining together to address the violence seen in recent days amid nationwide protests over the Minneapolis police custody death of George Floyd.

Since Friday, more than 180 protesters have been arrested and jailed in Dallas, according to the county sheriff's office. That figure excludes a mass of demonstrators arrested and released Monday after being charged with obstructing a roadway.

Dallas police Chief U. Renee Hall emphasized Tuesday that most protests were peaceful but warned, "If you break the law, we will arrest you."

Austin police say a 20-year-old black protester was critically injured after being struck by a beanbag fired by a police officer. Police Chief Brian Manley says the officer had been aiming at another demonstrator but missed.

Copyright NBC 5 and The Associated Press
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