Local and state officials said they are working to root out violent agitators, some of whom may be traveling across state lines, to participate in vandalism and looting at protests against police brutality across Texas.
"We will not be asking the United States military to come into the state of Texas because we know that Texas can take care of Texas," Gov. Greg Abbott said during a press conference in Dallas today.
Police have identified violent extremists, anarchists, Nazis and anti-fascists—also known as antifa—among those who committed crimes this past weekend—and are planning arrests, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Col Steve McCraw said at the same event. "There's no question about the involvement of these violent extremists," he added.
Nearly 3,000 state officers and hundreds of National Guard members have been deployed across the state to assist local police.
In Austin, antifa web pages and accounts were found to have organized looters at the Capital Plaza Target off I-35 near Hwy. 290 on Sunday evening, McCraw said.
Abbott condemned the killing of George Floyd and said he is working with law enforcement agencies—including the state department of public safety and the National Guard—to pursue those hijacking the largely peaceful protests that have erupted in response to Floyd's death.
"[I]t is essential that we end the violence and the vandalism and the looting that we've seen the past few days over the course of these protests," Abbott said.
In a media call yesterday, Austin Police Department Chief Brian Manley said his staff is still culling together data on arrests of non-Texas residents at this weekend's protests.
In terms of policy changes, Abbott said he visited with state legislators earlier today to discuss next steps. "Today is not going to be any type of end for us as legislators," he said. "Today is going to be the beginning of a dialogue."
Abbott declined to offer specific policy considerations. However, State Rep. Lorraine Birabil, D-Dallas, announced in a Facebook post last night that she plans to introduce a "see something, say something" bill in the 2021 legislative session that would hold law enforcement officers liable if they witness an excess use of force and fail to file a formal report.
When asked if he would support this, Abbott said: "One-off answers are incomplete. We need to have a complete dialogue in the House and Senate."
Note: This article has been updated with additional comment.
- Organizers cancel Sunday protest in Austin - austonia ›
- Two days of protest: demonstrators shut down I-35, Austin police ... ›
- Protests over police killings planned for Austin this weekend ... ›
- Austin police arrest antifa members after Target looting - austonia ›
- Austin police arrest antifa members after Target looting - austonia ›
- Gov. Abbott dispatches National Guard to Austin amid election - austonia ›
As summer temperatures continue to increase, so does Austin's "Party Island"—a hundreds-strong army of kayakers and paddle boarders who gather each weekend in the middle of Lady Bird Lake.
Born from the pandemic, the swarm of paddleboarding partiers has continued to grow each summer and can be seen from the nearby Lamar Boulevard Bridge. And while "Party Island" certainly lives up to one half of its name, it's not actually an island at all: instead, it's located at a shallow sandbar near Lou Neff Point.
With beers, burgers from portable grills and even DJ turntables in hand, more friends and strangers continue to beat the heat in new ways at the distinct Austin hangout.
- Lake Travis party boat operators see high demand after COVID ... ›
- 1 injured after small plane crashes into Lady Bird Lake - austonia ›
- Breath of fresh air: Austinites can't stay away from the party on Lady ... ›
- Photo essay: Austin's 'Party Island' on Lady Bird Lake ›
- Photo story: Austin's 'Party Island' on Lady Bird Lake - austonia ›
If you are a committed, grunge-wearing resident of the Pacific Northwest, it is easy–almost automatic–to look at Texas as an extraordinarily dry, hot and culturally oppressive place that is better to avoid, especially in the summer. Our two granddaughters live with their parents in Portland.
Recently we decided to take the older girl, who is 15, to Dallas. Setting aside the summer heat, a Portlander can adjust to the vibes of Austin without effort. So let’s take Texas with all of its excesses straight up. Dallas, here we come.
Our 15-year-old granddaughter and her sister, 12, have spent summer weeks with us, usually separately so that we could better get to know each individually. In visits focused on Austin and Port Aransas, the girls seemed to be developing an affection for Texas.
Houston and Dallas are two great American cities, the 4th and 9th largest, each loaded with cultural treasures, each standing in glittering and starchy contrast to Austin’s more louche, T-shirts and shorts ways.
Three hours up I-35, Dallas loomed before us as a set of gray skyscrapers in a filmy haze, accessed only through a concrete mixmaster of freeways, ramps and exits. I drove with false confidence. Be calm, I said to myself, it will all end in 10 minutes under the hotel entrance canopy. And it did.
The pool at the Crescent Court Hotel in Dallas. (Crescent Court Hotel)
We stayed three nights at the Crescent Court Hotel ($622 a night for two queens), a high-end hotel in Uptown, patronized by women in white blazers, business people in suits, and tall, lean professional athletes, their shiny Escalades and Corvettes darting in and out, and other celebrities like Bill Barr, the former attorney general who shoe-horned his ample self into a Toyota.
Each morning as I walked to Whole Foods for a cappuccino, a fellow identified by a bellman as Billy the Oilman arrived in his Rolls Royce Phantom. Where does he park? “Wherever he wants to. He likes the Starbucks here.”
We garaged our more modest set of wheels for the visit. We were chauffeured for tips by Matt Cooney and Alfonza “The Rev” Scott in the hotel’s black Audi sedan. They drove us to museums, restaurants and past the enclaves of the rich and famous. In Highland Park, The Rev pointed out the homes of the Dallas Cowboys' Jerry Jones and Troy Aikman along with the family compound of the Hunts, oil and gas tycoons.
The Dallas Museum of Art’s “Cartier and Islam” exhibit (until Sept. 18) attracted an older crowd; the nearby Perot Museum of Nature and Science was a powerful whirlpool of kids’ groups ricocheting from the Tyrannosaurus Rex to the oil fracking exhibit. Watch your shins.
A Geogia O'Keeffe oil painting called "Ranchos Church, New Mexico" at the Amon Carter Museum of Modern Art. (Rich Oppel)
For us, the best museum was the Amon Carter Museum of Modern Art in Fort Worth, a 50-minute, madcap drive away via a 75 mph toll lane along I-30. Don’t try it during rush hour. The Carter has an exquisite collection of Remington paintings and sculptures and an excellent array of 19th and 20th-century paintings as well. Pick one museum? The Amon Carter. Peaceful, beautiful, uncrowded, free admission and small enough to manage in two hours.
The Fort Worth Stockyards, a place of history (with a dab of schmaltz), fun and good shopping, filled one of our mornings. The 98 acres brand the city as Cowboy Town, with a rodeo and a twice-daily (11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.) cattle drive. We shopped for boots, drank coffee and watched the “herd” of 18 longhorns. So languid was their progress that if this were a real market drive the beef would have been very tough and leathery before it hit the steakhouse dinner plate.
The cattle drive at the Fort Worth Stockyards. (Rich Oppel)
But we could identify: the temperature was 97. “I saw a dog chasing a cat today,” said the emcee, deploying a very old joke. “It was so hot that both were walking.”
With limited time, we chose three very different restaurants:
- Nobu, in the Crescent Court Hotel; Jia, a modern Chinese restaurant in Highland Park; and Joe T. Garcia’s in Fort Worth. Nobu’s exotic Japanese menu set us back $480, with tip, for four (we had a guest), but it was worth it.
- Jia was an ordinary suburban strip mall restaurant, but with good food and a reasonable tab of $110 for four.
- Joe T.’s is an 85-year-old Fort Worth institution (think Matt’s El Rancho but larger), a fine Mexican restaurant where a meal with two drinks was $115.
Sushi at high-end restaurant Nobu. (Crescent Hotel)
It was all a splurge for a grandchild’s visit. Now we will get back to our ordinary road trips of Hampton Inns, where a room rate is closer to the Crescent Court’s overnight parking rate of $52. And to corner cafes in small towns.
Did Dallas change our 15-year-old’s view of Texas? “Yes. I think it’s a lot cooler than I did. The fashion, the food.” So, not only Austin is cool. Take Texas as a whole. It’s a big, complex, diverse and wonderful state.