Former Lubbock DA says Abbott’s new riot proposals would prevent crime

Gov. Abbott proposes strict new penalties for rioters

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Governor Abbott proposed new penalties to punish bad behaviors at riots on Thursday, such as causing injury and damaging property.

The governor proposed turning some misdemeanors into felonies with jail time. Now, former Lubbock Criminal District Attorney Travis Ware says the way to deter crime is to enhance punishment.

"If you harm a police officer, they’re not going to be walking the streets again for at least six months, " Governor Greg Abbott explained in his news conference.

“We have got to maintain law and order. People who would injure people and destroy property in the name of protesting is not what our forefathers intended. They intended for us to have the right to peaceably and peacefully protest,” Ware said.

Ware says Lubbockites know how to keep the peace and should continue to, but he does believe these proposals would help prevent bad behavior if they become law.

“If people have no fear of hurling bottles and bricks at police and the damage that they can do, and the damage that can do to people’s property, then there is no law and order and all we have is lawlessness,” Ware said.

Ware said that, for example, if fireworks were set off at a protest, it would be hard for police to differentiate fireworks from firearms or from someone shooting at them.

The people know they need law enforcement, Ware said.

“People in our community want to abide by law by and large and support law enforcement because we know that law enforcement supports us,” Ware said.

He has this message for Lubbock residents: “But to anybody who is thinking about committing such a crime, and deliberates on it, they might think twice if they know what the punishment is.”

The proposals would have to be voted on in 2021 to become law.

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