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.
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East Austin restaurant la Barbecue has been robbed a third time in less than three months, according to a post on the restaurant's Instagram.
In the post, the restaurant included photos of what appeared to be a man exiting a minivan from surveillance footage.
"This guy pulled up in a car full of stuff… he ripped our gate open and stole a couple empty kegs," the post said. "The ring system scared him off so he did not venture back into the area. PLEASE EVERYONE ON THE EAST SIDE BE CAREFUL!!! This guy goes back into his car to grab something before he goes in. I am hoping he won’t be back!!"
The robbery comes as many restaurant and food truck owners have been on guard from recent break-ins. East Austin cheesesteak truck R&B's Steak and Fries has also been robbed three times in around three months, according to owner Kris Elliott. Elliot said the truck was last robbed around a month and a half ago.
"When the weather gets cold, it seems like these things start to happen more often," Elliott said. "We're just happy no one got hurt."
Additionally, he said all 5 of the food trucks in their lot have experienced burglaries. The landlord of the space is taking action by investing in alarm and camera systems. "Been very tough dealing with this problem as us small business owners are just trying to survive during the pandemic," Elliott said.
And it's not just in East Austin. North Austin restaurants Eldorado Cafe and Chez Zee Bistro were both broken into and robbed on the weekend of Jan. 8, while over a dozen food truck robberies and break-ins were reported in the latter half of 2021.
Some, like Chez Zee's Deborah Velasco, wonder if the understaffed Austin Police Department's decision to no longer respond to non-emergency calls is part of the problem. Xose Velasco, owner of East Austin's Discada, said owners are keeping their guard up in the wake of the robberies as he was robbed twice within a month of reopening in November 2021.
"We try to keep the lights on," Velasco said. "We're a little bit more careful."
After 12 months, the long-anticipated massive Tesla factory in Southeast Travis County is up and operating and everyone wants a look inside.
Phase 1 of Giga Texas appears to be tied up as production of the Model Y Tesla is underway, the electric car company revealed on Wednesday in its fourth-quarter earnings call. The factory, located on the former Harold Green-turned Tesla Road, sits on more than 2,000 acres of land in southeast Travis County.
Here's a glimpse inside the factory.
Model Ys will be the first Teslas to come out of Giga Texas with an estimated delivery of August. The wait estimate comes after Tesla noted supply chain issues have affected their factories, which have been running below capacity for several quarters. A deep blue metallic like this goes for $1,000 more than a white or silver Model Y, totaling $61,990.
Model Ys began being produced at Giga Texas at the end of 2020. In general assembly at the factory, the Teslas get their major interior components to finish the vehicle.
Workers at Austin's Gigafactory are attaching seats to a structural battery pack. It's been described by some as the biggest difference between Texas-made Model Y's and the current version at the Fremont, California factory. It shouldn't have a major impact on the owner's experience, but Tesla has updated instructions for the jacking procedure, as the lift points are different.
With a sleek, open office setup, workers can take in a view of the factory from their seats. It's a component CEO Elon Musk wanted for what is now the headquarters of Tesla.
On the Austin, Texas public location Snapchat, a photo of inside Giga Texas has appeared. On the left you can see a sneak peek of a Model Y body.pic.twitter.com/N7zliZ5vkL— Sawyer Merritt (@Sawyer Merritt) 1643081462
With Snapchat's maps, anyone can look at everyday activity happening at the factory. To view these geographically-linked stories, click the bottom left "map" icon and search "Tesla Giga Texas." Once you've found it, you can view the Snapchat story of those in and around the facility. While most stories stay up for only 24 hours, Giga Texas is a designated place on Snapchat, allowing users to view a collection of photos and videos from the inside.
Following Model Ys, Texas-made Teslas will include the Cybertruck, Semi and Model 3. But it might be a while before those other models arrive. EV makers have been hit hard by the chip shortage, and it's thought that changing features are contributing to Cybertruck delays as Tesla works to compete in the electric pickup market.
Joe Rogan paid a visit to buddy Elon Musk this week. The two have been seen around town since both moving to Texas. Naturally, Rogan was impressed with the prototype.
If you're dying to get a closer look at this factory, you just might get to. In December, Musk said the factory would have tours available to the community early this year.
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