Ahead of possible protests, APD and DPS increase presence in Austin this weekend

Austin Protests

AUSTIN (KXAN) — In anticipation of possible protests, the Austin Police Department and Texas Department of Public Safety are increasing staffing in Austin this weekend.

In a statement Friday, APD said it is aware of planned protest activity and concerns circulating online. To prepare, the department said it is bringing in other agencies to help.

“We are bringing in the necessary staff, and have partnered with other local law enforcement agencies as we have done throughout the past few months, to allow for those peacefully and lawfully practicing their first  amendment rights while also working to prevent any violence or destruction of property.”

Austin Police Department

In another statement, DPS said it received reports of people planning to disrupt protests happening this weekend.

“DPS supports the right of individuals to lawfully protest, and public safety is our top priority. Therefore, DPS will be increasing our presence this weekend, along with our local law enforcement partners, to ensure public safety needs are met and to combat any potential criminal activity.”

Texas Department of Public Safety

DPS also said it will continue to work with APD and the National Guard, but did not say if the Guard would be present this weekend.

DPS said it wants to keep both people and property safe and “protect those individuals who are exercising their constitutional right to assembly and free speech.”

The department will adjust staffing and operations as needed if any threats unfold, according to the statement.

There have been dozens of protests in Austin since the end of May, which first sparked in response to the death of George Floyd. Protests since have called for reforms to the Austin Police Department and justice for Mike Ramos, who was shot and killed by an officer in April.

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