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Coronavirus in Texas

Dallas, San Antonio extend curfews through Sunday night

Throughout the weekend, protesters marched in Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Fort Worth, clashing with police officers, over the death of George Floyd.

Police officers on horseback are among a crowd gathered to protest protest the deaths of George Floyd and Mike Ramos, in Aus…

Here’s what you need to know Sunday:

  • Texas reports 64,287 cases and 1,672 deaths
  • Dallas mayor declares state of disaster as his city and San Antonio extend curfews
  • Austin rally canceled over safety concerns
  • U.S. Rep. Chip Roy calls for congressional investigation
  • George Floyd to be buried in Houston, mayor says

More than 100 detained in Dallas as police enforce curfew

[11:56 p.m.] Dallas police reported around 11 p.m. Sunday that 76 people had been arrested and taken to the local jail and 45 to 60 more were in the process of being taken there as officers were strictly enforcing a curfew set for in and around the downtown area.

According to The Dallas Morning News, officers downtown deployed tear gas and fired pepper balls to disperse protesters. Earlier Sunday, Dallas Police Chief Reneé Hall said a curfew would go into effect in the city at 7 p.m. and end at 6 a.m. “for the next several days,” according to the Morning News. The curfew was set up as a result of increasing tensions between demonstrators and police officers at protests over the death of George Floyd in police custody.

Tension also continued in downtown Austin, where reporters on the scene described police shooting rubber bullets as protestors attempted to block traffic on Interstate 35. — Matthew Watkins

Texas reports 64,287 cases and 1,672 deaths

Texas reported 1,949 more cases of the new coronavirus Sunday — the highest increase since the state began reporting coronavirus case counts. In the last week, the state reported an average of 1,277 new cases per day.

Almost every county in Texas has reported at least one confirmed case of the virus. Harris County has reported the most cases, 12,220, followed by Dallas County, which has reported 10,006 cases. The Tribune publishes maps of the latest case numbers for each county and case rates per 1,000 residents.

The state has reported 24 additional deaths, bringing the statewide total to 1,672. In the last week, the state reported an average 22 additional deaths per day. Harris County reported three additional deaths Sunday, bringing its total to 231 deaths, more than any other county.

Gov. Greg Abbott is looking at two specific metrics to justify his decision to restart the Texas economy — the positive test rate and hospitalization levels. As of yesterday, at least 951,865 viral tests and 102,928 antibody tests have been administered.

The positive test rate is the percentage of new cases to viral tests conducted. The latest average daily infection rate of 4.6% is calculated by dividing the 7-day average of positive cases by the 7-day average of viral tests conducted. This shows how the situation has changed over time by de-emphasizing daily swings. Public health experts want the infection rate to remain below 6%.

As of Sunday, 1,684 patients are known to be hospitalized in Texas. That’s a decrease of 68 patients from Saturday. — Mandi Cai

Dallas mayor declares state of disaster as his city and San Antonio extend curfews

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson declared a local state of disaster in the city, according to a Sunday news release, in response to the threats of rioting following the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed Monday in Minneapolis police custody.

The declaration, which is set to expire in seven days, allows the city manager to issue emergency regulations like curfews.

Earlier Sunday, Dallas Police Chief Reneé Hall said a curfew will go into effect in the city at 7 p.m. and end at 6 a.m. “for the next several days,” according to The Dallas Morning News. The curfew was set up as a result of increasing tensions between demonstrators and police officers at protests.

At about the same time, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg announced another curfew for parts of his city. Nirenberg said Sunday that Alamo Plaza will be closed beginning at 6 p.m., while the rest of the downtown business district will be closed to the public at 10 p.m. Sunday. The closures will end at 6 a.m. Monday.

People violating the curfew and visiting those parts of the city could be subject to fines of up to $1,000 and up to 180 days in jail. Sunday’s announcement follows a curfew that Nirenberg issued for late Saturday night.

In Dallas, Johnson said that he supports peaceful protesting and shares in the pain over Floyd’s “tragic, brutal, and senseless death.” But some people — a “small group,” he said — engaged in “lawlessness that has nothing to do with human rights or Mr. Floyd’s death.”

“We cannot allow anyone to loot or vandalize or threaten the lives and livelihoods of people in Dallas,” Johnson said. “Enough is enough. We need to put a stop to the criminal destruction of our city.” — Clare Proctor, Alex Samuels and Ayan Mittra

Protesters gather outside state Capitol in Austin

Protesters gathered in downtown Austin Sunday afternoon, spurred by the deaths of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis police custody Monday, and Michael Ramos, a black and Hispanic man who was shot to death by an Austin police officer in late April.

Chanting, “APD are murderers” and, “No justice, no peace,” protesters marched toward the state Capitol and Austin City Hall. A group began to form next to the fence of the Capitol shortly before 1 p.m., according to a video stream from KVUE.

At least one person was hit with tear gas, protesters told a Texas Tribune photographer. Officers were mounted on horses and bicycles.

Sunday’s protest was not organized by the Austin Justice Coalition or Black Lives Matter. Organizers from those two groups canceled a planned protest earlier Sunday out of concern that “white folk … and other agitators of color” would have hijacked the event and risked the safety of black protesters there,” according to a statement from the groups. — Clare Proctor

Michael Ramos’ mother speaks to protesters at spot where her son died

In Austin Sunday, the mother of Michael Ramos — a black and Hispanic man who was shot and killed by police officers in April in Southeast Austin — called for retribution against the officer who killed her son.

“I’m not getting any answers,” said Brenda Ramos, Michael Ramos’ mother, according to a KVUE news feed. “Why hasn’t Officer Taylor been fired? Why hasn’t Officer Taylor at least been suspended?”

Michael Ramos, 42, was unarmed when Austin Police Officer Christopher Taylor shot him in his car at a Southeast Austin apartment complex in late April. Brenda Ramos, who spoke as she stood at the apartment complex where her son was killed, said there should be a new law put in place that suspends and prosecutes police officers who unjustly kill people.

On Friday, Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore announced the case will be presented to a grand jury, though the date has yet to be determined because of a suspension of grand juries in Travis County due to the coronavirus pandemic, KVUE reported.

Protesters have gathered throughout the weekend in Austin in honor of Ramos and George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis police custody Monday. Similar protests spurred by Floyd’s death have taken place across the state.

“I don’t want no violence,” Brenda Ramos said. “I just want peace and quiet and respect for me, my son, my family.” — Clare Proctor

Austin organizers cancel Sunday rally over safety concerns

Organizers canceled a protest planned in Austin due to concerns that “white folk … and other agitators of color” would have hijacked the event and risked the safety of black protesters there.

“It’s a risk just to exist in a black body in this country,” Chas Moore with the Austin Justice Coalition said this morning on a Facebook Live broadcast. “There’s no way under my watch … that we can ask people to come out and potentially have black bodies in harm’s way.”

The protest was originally slated to happen this afternoon near the Texas Capitol. Moore cited “rumors” that others involved with Saturday night’s protest in the city were planning to “hijack” today’s event. “When I look at what’s going on in Austin, when I look at the mess that happened last night, I look at white people burning stuff up,” he said.

“White folk, white agitators and other agitators of color that are using this moment in the name of black lives … there’s no way I can ask you to come out and ask you to be in harm’s way.” — Cassandra Pollock

Austin-area Democrats issue statement condemning police, protester violence

Six Austin-area Democrats serving in the Texas House issued a joint statement Sunday morning expressing their support for those “peacefully protesting” the deaths of black people killed by police violence, including Breonna Taylor, Michael Ramos and George Floyd.

“The long history of systemic racism and brutality in American law enforcement systems require immediate and significant reform and accountability,” the members wrote.

The Democrats — Eddie Rodriguez, Donna Howard, Celia Israel, Gina Hinojosa, Sheryl Cole and Vikki Goodwin — noted that they “do not condone any violence, including police violence.” They wrote that they condemn attacks by police forces nationwide who have “shot at, tear gassed, shoved or hit” those protesting, but also repudiate “the attacks on our firefighters, police, EMS and other first responders who are working in good faith to facilitate constructive and conflict-free expressions of protest.”

“Moving forward we are hopeful that today’s protest, and those that continue across Texas and the United States, will remain peaceful and that we can begin to address the underlying causes of this unrest. We need serious reform of law enforcement, and accountability across the system,” the group says. — Alex Samuels

U.S. Rep. Chip Roy calls for Congress to investigate protests

In a tweet Sunday morning, U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Austin, threatened to use his congressional powers to determine whether anti-fascist activists known as antifa are behind the protests rocking the state’s major Texas cities following the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed Monday in Minneapolis police custody.

He also questioned whether some of the people protesting Floyd’s death should’ve been jailed but were perhaps released as some big-city officials released inmates deemed low risk to the community from local jails during the coronavirus pandemic. Epidemiologists and prisoner rights advocates have said that because disease tends to spread throughout cramped, often unsanitary prisons and jails, the virus endangers inmates, staff and the local communities.

“I will be calling on Congressional hearings to determine, to the extent possible, how many of the leaders & key participants of the riots & looting have been 1) Antifa, and/or 2) folks not behind bars because of reaction to the corona virus and/or any recent policy changes,” Roy wrote.

Roy has been vocal against state and local leaders who haven’t condemned the protests. He also praised the Austin Police Department on Saturday night for utilizing less lethal bean bag rounds against protestors in the city.

“Secure Austin,” Roy wrote. — Alex Samuels

George Floyd to be buried in Houston, mayor says

The body of George Floyd, a black man who was killed Monday in Minneapolis police custody, will return to Houston for burial, according to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. Floyd was a longtime resident of Houston’s Third Ward.

“His body is coming back to the city of Houston,” Turner said on Houston’s Majic 102.1 radio station this morning. “We certainly want to pay tribute to him and uplift his family, his siblings, other members of his family, his friends.”

No additional details have been released. The Houston Chronicle reported Saturday that a GoFundMe page set up by Floyd’s brother has raised over $4.6 million. Those funds will help pay for the funeral, burial and court costs, among other things. — Cassandra Pollock

Dallas leaders condemn vandalism and violence

In Dallas, hundreds of protesters marched this weekend in honor of George Floyd, a Minneapolis black man who was killed in police custody after an officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. Many protesters demonstrated peacefully, while some damaged properties, took from businesses and vandalized cars, according to The Dallas Morning News.

On Saturday, Mayor Eric Johnson and police Chief U. Renee Hall said the violence would not be tolerated.

“But we also unfortunately saw some reckless behavior from a small group of people whose agendas had nothing to do with human rights or civil rights,” Johnson said, according to The Dallas Morning News. “They exploited a collective cry for help for their own personal gain by looting. They chose to destroy things at a time when we should be building each other up, and we just can’t allow that. Not in Dallas.” — Rebekah Allen

Trib stories you may have missed:

Protesters run away as Dallas police officers launch tear gas after a confrontation during a rally for George Floyd on May 2…

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