(Promoted by Colorado Pols)
A Denver protest of the killing of Minnesota resident George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers included numerous incidents of violence Thursday evening. Although most of the several hundred attendees left before dark, the conflict continued into the night. Eventually officers deployed tear gas canisters and pepper bullets on smaller but vocal and sometimes antagonistic groups remaining near Civic Center Park.
The initial event was a large but peaceful demonstration against police brutality. That changed around 5:30 P.M. with reports of several gunshots into the crowd, State Rep. Leslie Herod was among the first to share that via Twitter. Another widely circulated video showed a car appearing to intentionally run down a protester.
Fox31’s Matt Mauro later tweeted video of dozens of protesters surrounding the Capitol building, some of whom smashed cars and vandalized the building.
As night fell, protesters continued circulating around downtown’s Civic Center Park and shortly after 9:00 P.M. Denver police vehicles carrying dozens of officers in riot gear arrived at the intersection of Broadway and Colfax Ave.
Officers marched west down Colfax, advancing on groups of protesters who shouted slogans “No Justice, No Peace” along with taunts and insults.
While a caravan of police vans and officers in riot gear slowly moved several dozen protesters west on Colfax, away past the former Denver Post building, another wall of officers used tear gas and pepper bullets on a larger, rowdier group moving north on Lincoln away from the Capitol. A few protestors threw rocks or other small projectiles at officers.
Tear gas engulfed the intersection of Colfax and Lincoln affecting protesters and bystanders, as well as the residents of numerous tent encampments, some of which appeared following city sweeps of other downtown areas earlier in the week.
Many of the protesters’ signs displayed during the earlier hours of the protest decried police brutality and racism. Among the few still visible after dark, one simply displayed a noose, a doughnut and a badge.
Barricades and police vehicles blocked portions of Broadway, Colfax and other roads around downtown, yet numerous cars maneuvered around the obstacles in order to pass through the park.
Two helicopters started circling downtown as the initially peaceful protest began shortly after 5pm. At midnight, they were still making passes over the Capitol.
Late in the evening CPR reported that the Colorado House, and likely the Senate as well, will not convene on Friday.
The video of Floyd’s murder just focused the anger about police killings that has simmered under the surface for years. The Sun reports 201 killings in police custody in Colorado since 2014. And those are just shootings during arrests.
The stats don’t include deaths in jail, like the young man who died of a ketamine overdose, or the mentally disabled man who died in Denver jail, or the man who just died of Covid19, with no medical care, in Jeffco jail, or the two Sterling inmates who died of coronavirus .
They don’t include all the people locked up in the GEO facility in Aurora, or transferred along with the virus, to other facilities, while Covid19 rages through it. My own son in law was exposed to CV19 in Jeffco jail, while serving a sentence for a DUI that was twice that of any white man charged for the same minor offense. He wore his PPE and we got his sentence reduced and got him out. And so far he-and we – aren’t sick. But that exposure wasn’t necessary.
So yeah, there’s a lot of rage and resentment out there. There is structural and institutional racism that is almost invisible because it’s so common. That’s the problem. It isn’t just that a few protesters or paid provocateurs went too far, even though they did. Keep your eyes on the big picture.
Big picture: There are incremental positive developments. Denver has an independent police review board now. The Governor released all the medically vulnerable, and not dangerous, people from prison. Thousands of people spontaneously marched to peacefully protest a horrifying injustice. I didn’t, being crowd-shy right now.
Even if we’re safer at home, we all can at least become aware. We know who to call and what to say. We can become part of the solution.
I was reminded of this resource:
Indeed. But a useful resource. Thanks.