State House candidate Alec Johnson plans to execute a citizen’s arrest on Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton “if they set foot in District 11” during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I intend to arrest them for attempted manslaughter. I invite other public servants, candidates, and citizens to follow my example and make their districts safer,” Johnson said in a press release. “Let me be clear I have no intention of using any means beyond the moral power underlying all true justice to effect these arrests.”

The Nacogdoches Democrat, who will face state Rep. Travis Clardy in November, said Abbot and Paxton’s rush to reopen Texas is a “legendary abuse of office.” Polls show Texans are conflicted about reopening. A Washington Post poll found that 57% of Texans approve of Abbott’s plans while 41% disapprove.

“There is a straight line between the actions of the Governor and Attorney General and the likely deaths of citizens here,” Johnson said. “I refuse to pretend that there is anything acceptable about the state-sponsored killing of citizens that Abbott and Paxton are so comfortable with.”

Johnson said he believes Republican leadership is “comfortable trading lives for a chance at profit” because “mostly black and brown people are being sacrificed.” The Nacogdoches Democrat kicked off his campaign earlier this year with a focus on antiracism.

“This is morally reprehensible and utterly unacceptable,” Johnson said. “I want everyone in District 11, black, brown and white people to know that when their lives are threatened, I will risk myself to defend them.”

Frontline and essential employees who have faced exposure to the virus throughout the pandemic are largely composed of black and Hispanic workers. There is some evidence that African Americans have worse outcomes from the coronavirus than other racial groups.

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