Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the number of people arrested for participating in a riot was eight.
AUSTIN (KXAN) – At least eight people were arrested after “participating in a riot,” in connection with protests that morphed into clashes between protesters, counter-protesters and law enforcement outside the Austin Police Department headquarters downtown Saturday, according to court and charging documents.
Hundreds gathered downtown to protest the deaths of George Floyd, in Minnesota, and Michael Ramos, in Austin. Both men died while being arrested by police. Protesters spilled onto the I-35 frontage road and freeway at Eighth Street, shutting down traffic temporarily in the afternoon near APD headquarters.
Travis County arrest records show eight people were arrested for “participating in a riot,” a Class B misdemeanor. KXAN obtained six of those individuals’ arrest affidavits, which indicate the arrests were made outside APD headquarters and involved graffiti and throwing bottles of liquids at counterprotesters and police.
“During this protest it evolved into a riot. There were hundreds of people blocking the [service road], crosswalks and sidewalks with cars and pedestrians,” according to one arrest affidavit. “Rocks, glass bottles and water bottles were thrown at officers over multiple hours.”
KXAN checked the background of each individual with a riot participation charge, and all of them appear to be local and have ties to Austin and surrounding towns. One person could not be located through standard backgrounding procedures.
We checked into the home cities of the arrested individuals, after officials in Minnesota announced most people arrested for rioting in cities there had come from outside the state. An investigation by local station KARE 11 found most of the arrested individuals were actually from Minnesota.
In Austin, one woman was arrested for throwing a glass bottle that shattered at officers’ feet, police said. Another man tossed an open container filled with an “unknown liquid” at counterprotesters, according to an affidavit. Police also said they arrested two women for spray painting graffiti.
Those charged with “participating in a riot” included the following, according to arrest affidavits:
- Daniel Vennel, 22, was observed “throwing items at police.”
- Trevon Foster, 28, was seen throwing an “open bottle containing an unknown liquid” at a counterprotester.
- Jose Cuellar, 26, was seen “physically pushing officers preventing them from immediately” arresting a person.
- Pershana Barnett-Franklin, 23, was observed throwing a glass bottle that shattered near officers’ feet, but nobody was injured.
- Carolina Patricia Lanas, 25, was seen by police spray painting graffiti on the east wall of APD headquarters.
- Paula Martinez, 24, was also seen by police spray painting graffiti on APD headquarters.
In addition to the riot charges, seven other individuals were arrested Saturday for obstructing a highway. Those arrest affidavits were not immediately available, and it is not clear if they were directly related to the traffic-stopping protests on I-35.
Authorities also arrested Cyril Laurence Lartigue, 25, for possession or manufacture of a prohibited weapon. Police said Lartigue was caught making a Molotov cocktail, which is a homemade incendiary device usually made from an empty glass bottle filled with fuel and capped with a cloth wick.
Police said they witnessed Lartigue through an overhead HALO camera squatting behind a portable toilet near APD headquarters during the protest. He was seen emptying a beer bottle and refilling it with an unknown liquid and stuffing a piece of cloth into the top of the bottle and saturating the cloth with the unknown liquid.
“This event took place at or during a public protest located directly adjacent to Austin Police Headquarters and the Municipal Court building. During the protest several fires had erupted,” according to the arrest affidavit.
Police said they found Lartigue inside the portable toilet but couldn’t find the Molotov cocktail and “presumed that the incendiary device was placed within the porta potty receptacle.”
Lartigue denied making any incendiary devices and denied lighting fires during the protest.
Police also arrested, Jarrid Cornell, 19, for interference with a police service animal on Fifth Street, a Class A misdemeanor. Police said Cornell struck a police horse named Bishop on the neck and shoulder with a cardboard protest sign attached to a stick.
The protests Saturday carried into the night, when people began looting at least two stores on Sixth Street: Private Stock Premium Boutique and Lone Star Souvenir and Food Mart. It is not clear if any arrests have been made specifically related to those incidents.
Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday declared a state of disaster for the state, which allows him to boost law enforcement numbers by authorizing federal agents to serve as Texas peace officers.