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EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — The head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Monday issued a statement defending the deployment of CBP personnel in the nation’s capital as a response to the civil unrest that followed the alleged murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. 

Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan said the agency has deployed hundreds of personnel who are currently serving in the region:

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in coordination and with other federal agencies, has deployed more than 350 law enforcement personnel currently serving in the National Capital Region in order to protect the community from civil unrest related to recent protests. … CBP will not sit idly by while vagrants exploit our great community in Washington, D.C. We will rapidly respond to requests for assistance from our partner law enforcement agencies. This joint action is necessary to support federal law enforcement in their efforts to prevent civil unrest and harm to the citizens of our community. It is our sincere hope that local protests remain peaceful and without incident.”

Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan

CBP has also deployed aerial assets to aid in public safety and provide “situational awareness for our law enforcement partners on the ground.”

CBP’s Air and Marine Operations provided a photos take from aerial assets deployed to aid in public safety and provide situational awareness for law enforcement officers on the ground.

“CBP’s deployment of manpower and aerial assets is about supporting the efforts of our federal, state and local partners, not about carrying out CBP’s immigration enforcement mission. This is about the preservation of life and safety,” CBP tweeted Sunday.

In a tweet Monday afternoon, Morgan said, “These ‘protests’ have devolved into chaos & acts of domestic terrorism by groups of radicals & agitators. @CBP is answering the call and will work to keep DC safe.”

Late Monday, Morgan also tweeted photos of Border Patrol agents patrolling landmark across Washington, D.C.

@CBP is currently securing national monuments and memorials across DC. Last night, some of them were defaced by rioters. We’re working hard to prevent it from happening again, and we’re proud to protect them,” Morgan tweeted.

This May 31, 2020 photo provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff shows Derek Chauvin, who was arrested Friday, May 29, in the Memorial Day death of George Floyd. (Hennepin County Sheriff via AP)

CBP is sending officers, agents and aircraft around the country to assist other law enforcement. The officers sre being deployed in several states, though CBP officials declined to provide specific details, citing security concerns.

The U.S. Park Police and Secret Service have had dozens of officers out in riot gear in Washington for the last few nights, in addition to the Metropolitan Police Department.

The unrest started in Minneapolis, where a police officer, Derek Chauvin, put his knee on the neck of George Floyd — who was handcuffed — for several minutes, even after he stopped moving and pleading for air.

Chauvin has been charged with murder. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said Tuesday that prosecutors were working as fast as they can to determine if the three other officers at the scene should be charged, too. All four have been fired.

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The Associated Press contributed to this story.