SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – If you’re protesting in Texas, that individual walking next to you might just be an undercover officer. Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McGraw says DPS officers and Texas Rangers are working with local law enforcement agencies, FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force to identify instigators who are hijacking peaceful protests to commit crimes.
“I don’t mind advertising this. We do have special agents embedded,” said McGraw at a joint news conference Tuesday with Gov. Greg Abbott.
He said they’re trying to identify criminals who are exploiting the demonstrations. McGraw also noted that “violent extremists” are using peaceful marches and demonstrations for their own purposes of looting and destroying property. He says the militant group Antifa organized the looting of a Target store in Austin last Sunday.
“That was done and organized by an Antifa webpage, and of course the surveillance that was provided over the internet to identify where law enforcement resources were staged was done over Antifa accounts,” said McGraw.
He added that people have every right to protest the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer last week, but they need to exercise their First Amendment rights without having agitators take over the events and use them for unlawful purposes.
“Make no mistake about it, There’s not a police officer in Texas who’s not sickened by the murder of George Floyd,” said McGraw.
Abbott described it as a “horrific act of police brutality.”
President Trump has threatened to send the U.S. military to states that cannot contain the violence surrounding the protests, but Abbott says that’s not necessary in Texas. Nearly 3,000 DPS troopers have already been dispatched to major cities in Texas, including San Antonio, and the Texas National Guard has been activated.
“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,” said the governor.