Police Accountability Protest At State Capitol Turns Violent With Shots Fired, Property Damage

DENVER (CBS4) —  Police in Denver rushed to the state Capitol on Thursday evening on reports of shots fired during a police accountability protest that turned violent. The protest stretched for more than three hours as crowds also continued to block traffic not just around downtown Denver but also on I-25 and then returned to the state Capitol where protesters smashed the windows of a Colorado State Patrol cruiser.

Witnesses claim six or seven shots were fired at about 5:30 p.m., shortly after most of the demonstrators had left the area to protest in the streets of downtown Denver. Denver police confirmed the report and said there are no reports of any injuries.

Spencer Wilson with KKTV said police ordered people to get down on the ground, then “took off towards the west lawn.”Spencer Wilson@Spencer_WNews

Bullets just wizzed by on the state capital, police yelled for us to get down, then took off towards the west lawn.

This was maybe 15 minutes after the majority of protesters took off.

Maybe 6-7 shots. People are pretty shaken up. @KKTV11News

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Wilson shared video of people lying on the sidewalk and the grass. Police said they were investigating in the area of West Colfax Avenue and West 15th Street.Denver Police Dept.@DenverPolice

#DPD Officers on scene at W Colfax Ave and W 15 st on shots fired in the area of the Capital. This is an ongoing investigation and the motive is unknown. No reports of injuries.

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The demonstrators were protesting the death of an unarmed black man in Minnesota

George Floyd died while being arrested. He told an officer “I can’t breathe” while that officer had his knee on Floyd’s neck.

Protesters are also calling attention to other black Americans who died at the hands of police, including Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed in her bed in Louisville, Kentucky, while police were executing a warrant.

After gathering at the Capitol, hundreds of protesters marched down Lincoln Street and then Broadway, blocking traffic.

Police officers helped control traffic in the area but did not stop the protesters.

They started to make their way to Interstate 25 at 20th where the group blocked traffic in both directions about 7 p.m.

Michael B. Hancock✔@MayorHancock

You can be angry. You can be outraged. I certainly am and I join you in those feelings and demands of #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd. March for justice and to see it served, but please march in peace. Responding to violence with violence will only lead to more violence.564Twitter Ads info and privacy181 people are talking about this

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock tweeted, “You can be angry. You can be outraged. I certainly am and I join you in those feelings and demands of #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd. March for justice and to see it served, but please march in peace. Responding to violence with violence will only lead to more violence.”

He then followed up that tweet with a video statement.Michael B. Hancock@MayorHancock

Hey Denver. I understand your frustration and pain following the murder of George Floyd. I plead to you – let’s demonstrate, but let’s do so peacefully.

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Rep. Leslie Herod, a Democrat representing Denver, released the following statement after shots were fired into a protest at the Capitol in support of George Floyd: “This evening, I joined protesters outside the Capitol in support of George Floyd who was murdered by the police in Minnesota. Shots were fired into the peaceful protest. We will continue to make our voices heard and demand justice for Black communities. We will not be deterred by this unspeakable act of violence.”

Rep. Leslie Herod, a Democrat representing Denver, released the following statement after shots were fired into a protest at the Capitol in support of George Floyd: “This evening, I joined protesters outside the Capitol in support of George Floyd who was murdered by the police in Minnesota. Shots were fired into the peaceful protest. We will continue to make our voices heard and demand justice for Black communities. We will not be deterred by this unspeakable act of violence.”

The crowds returned to the state Capitol after blocking traffic on I-25 and congregated on the steps to pound on the doors.

Denver Police Dept.✔@DenverPolice 

ROADS CLOSED: Please avoid the areas of Broadway & Lincoln around the Capitol and I-25 in the area of 15th Street. Roads closed in both areas due to ongoing demonstrations. Alternate routes are advised. #Denver

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Denver Police Dept.@DenverPolice

East Colfax Ave is closed in both directions. A large crowd is moving east bound from Grant St25Twitter Ads info and privacy18 people are talking about this

A few broke away from the group pounding on the doors of the state Capitol and smashed out the windows of a Colorado State Patrol cruiser and another vehicle parked next to it. That vehicle reportedly belongs to a state Senator. Copter4 flew over the crowds as the damage happened.

The group left the state Capitol and continued their march in Capitol Hill, where police in riot gear were waiting at Colfax Avenue and Washington.

Police in riot gear blocked the street where the protesters were heading. Officers threw flash-bang devices in the street to disperse the crowd.

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