Protests continue at the Texas Capitol, as tension between protesters and law enforcement officers has escalated. Since the protests started in May, the Texas Department of Public Safety has been investigating and arresting suspects. Most of them have been charged with misdemeanor crimes. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick recently made a statement that without intervention from law enforcement, more disruption and violence would have occurred.
Texas Authorities are Combing Through Protest Footage to Make Arrests
One protester was arrested while he was getting into his car in Austin. law enforcement officials claimed that he spray-painted the outside doors of a historic building. In another case, deputies arrived at an 18-year-old’s home with guns drawn, accusing him of throwing a water bottle at a police officer during one of the protests that occurred in May.
Since May, Texas law enforcement have investigated over a dozen protesters. Their special agent teams have reviewed social media posts, YouTube videos, and surveillance footage of the protest in order to charge protesters with criminal activity. The department also announced some arrests publicly and has reportedly offered cash prizes of $1,000 to anyone in the public who can name some of the masked protesters seen in grainy screenshots pulled from security video footage.
Most Suspects Have Been Charged With Misdemeanors
Critics of this investigation claimed that the Texas Department of Public Safety is on a political witch-hunt. Most of the 14 people who have already been arrested and put in jail as part of the ongoing investigation have been charged with misdemeanors for the following activities:
Pushing into and trespassing on the closed Capitol grounds
Tossing a water bottle near law enforcement officers
Kicking the door of a law enforcement SUV
Hitting a law enforcement officer with a water bottle
Law enforcement arrested one suspect on suspicion of a felony criminal mischief charge. They claim that the defendant sprayed an obscenity on the southern doors of a Capitol building. He is one of 13 suspects who are currently in jail awaiting trial for crimes related to protesting.
What to do if You Have Been Charged With Crimes Related to Rioting
Many Texans who participated in protests are concerned about being charged with a crime after the fact. Most charges law enforcement have made so far have been for misdemeanor rioting, or for criminal mischief. Criminal mischief charges are more serious, and the severity of the penalties depends on the amount of damage done.
The most important thing you can do after being arrested for acts related to protesting is to hire an experienced defense lawyer. At Abel law firm, we will defend your rights throughout the entire process. You need the best possible defense lawyer to help you avoid criminal charges. Contact us today to schedule your initial appointment.