Protesters emboldened to attack HPD as man resisted arrest, prosecutors say

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Federal prosecutors said a man who rammed his shoulder into officers protecting a freeway on-ramp during a mass protest for George Floyd in Houston led others to throw traffic cones at police.

Now, Travis Glendon Martin III faces a U.S. magistrate judge on Friday on a federal count of civil disorder.

The 32-year-old is accused of aggressively trying to break through a police line and enter the Gulf Freeway on the afternoon of May 29, which was four days removed from the widely publicized death of Floyd by police officers.

On that afternoon, ABC13 crews on the ground and in SkyEye captured thousands marching in downtown toward Houston City Hall as part of a loosely organized demonstration.

SEE ALSO: Several officers hurt, nearly 200 arrested during George Floyd protest
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Police confront protesters on I-10 near Mcnee.

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Houston police arrest a protester in front of the old police station on Reisner.

In one of the scenes captured from the air, a line of HPD officers tried to block a group of protesters from getting on the freeway.

In Martin's case, prosecutors stated officers tried to gain control of him when he was "exhibiting passive resistance by placing his arms underneath his body as he lay on the ground." The act, a criminal complaint said, impeded officers as other people began removing and then throwing the traffic cones at police.

Prosecutors accuse Martin of emboldening others to commit similar acts. They alleged his actions caused a further chain of disruption of traffic by people at the freeway ramp.

Martin, an Austin resident, faces up to five years in federal prison and a possibly fine of $250,000.

The protest and the face-off near the freeway was a far cry from the peaceful organized march in downtown the following Tuesday, June 2, when members of Floyd's family led 60,000 people from Discovery Green to City Hall.

In the midst of the early protests, HPD and other law enforcement departments across the country warned of small pockets of agitators who seek the opportunity to cause destruction during peaceful protests. The city of Houston did its best to prevent destructive scenes breaking out during the June 2 march when city workers spotted and then collected piles of rocks and bricks out in the open on street corners.

SEE ALSO: Photographer injured after being hit by man during protests in Houston
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Cameraman injured after being hit by demonstrators during protests

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