Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo seemed to blame Austin "radicals" for unrest in Houston during protests against police brutality in a tweet Wednesday.
The tweet claims "radicals" attempted to "hijack" a Houston march honoring George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck while Floyd pleaded for air.
"Thankfully 99% of H-Town protestors [sic] wanted nothing to do with their antics," Acevedo, who previously served as police chief in Austin before he departed in 2016, tweeted.
Interesting to find some of the radicals @Austin_Police have been facing in their city trying to hijack the march by 60,000 Houstonians last night in honor of #GeorgeFloyd and his family.
Thankfully 99% of H-Town protestors wanted nothing to do with their antics. #HoustonStrong— Chief Art Acevedo (@ArtAcevedo) June 3, 2020
In response to another Twitter user, Acevedo wrote "I love the [sic] Austin. Don't love people who came here not to protest, but to incite."
Acevedo seemed to make a similar claim in a series of videos posted to Twitter by NBC reporter Mike Hixenbaugh.
"I know there're people here from Austin yelling at me, but I'm here to tell you 'You ain't in Austin.' You are in Houston. You are in H-town," Acevedo is seen telling the crowd. "Don't let anybody hijack this movement."
Blames Austin for the unrest last night: "We may fight. We may get angry with each other. But we know when all these fucking people have come out here from the outside trying to tear this shit up, while the rest of the country is burning ... nothing's burning in Houston!" pic.twitter.com/pulvTCPqye— Mike Hixenbaugh (@Mike_Hixenbaugh) June 3, 2020
In another video Acevedo said "This isn't Austin, Texas where they're diverse as long as they're east of 35. This is Houston, Texas, and for the people in Austin who want to come here and tear this (expletive) up, you're in the wrong (expletive) city."
More from Houston police chief Art Acevedo last night : "This isn't Austin, Texas, where they're diverse as long as they're east side of 35. This is Houston, Texas. And for the people in Austin who want to tear this shit up, you're in the wrong fucking city." pic.twitter.com/enhoHzwI7J— Mike Hixenbaugh (@Mike_Hixenbaugh) June 3, 2020
Since protests decrying police brutality against black Americans and racial injustice in the country began last week, Acevedo has made national news several times for his on-the-ground presence in Houston.
Claims that outsiders are responsible for non-peaceful protests have been seen throughout the country, including Minneapolis, where protests first began, and in Austin. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott mentioned out-of-state "agitators" when commenting on Texans' right to protest peacefully without it being "hijacked."
USA Today investigated the claim in Minneapolis by reviewing jail records and thousands of tweets, and found it unsubstantiated. Their analysis found "93 of the 109 people arrested in the city between Thursday night and Saturday morning reside in-state" and 85% of those posting to social media from the site of a protest last week "had a history of posting inside the greater Minneapolis area before George Floyd's death."
READ: Officials blame 'out-of-state' agitators but those at the heart of protests are homegrown
"The narrative offers a simple, tidy explanation for violence that allows politicians to simultaneously support the ethos of the movement and the police officers trying to keep the peace," USA Today reporter Brett Murphy writes.
The publication reports it found the same pattern across the country and says critics say the assertion allows police to "leverage the distinction as a pretense for a heavier response."
In Houston, local station ABC 13 investigated similar claims by looking at arrests made during weekend protests and found that "only 15 percent of arrests were Texans who live outside the Houston-area."
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