Garcia pickup 2020-05-29.jpeg

Protesters targeted vehicles parked outside the Capitol building, including Senate President Leroy Garcia's pickup.

Both chambers of the Colorado General Assembly will be closed on Friday and lawmakers have canceled a scheduled Saturday session, due to the protests and violence that took place Thursday.

Those protests, over the murder of George Floyd, a black man, by Minneapolis police, are expected to resume mid-day Friday.

During Thursday night's protest, windows at the state Capitol were broken, the building's west side was damaged by graffiti and two vehicles were heavily damaged. One was a Colorado state patrol car; the other was a truck owned by Senate President Leroy Garcia of Pueblo.

All four tires, which were brand new, were slashed and the windows broken. The vehicle had to be towed from the Capitol, according to Senate Democratic spokeswoman Bella Combest.

Denver Mayor Hancock, city leaders react to protests demanding justice for George Floyd

The House was scheduled Friday to debate the Long Appropriations Bill and more than 40 accompanying bills designed to help balance the 2020-21 budget. 

House Democrats issued a statement just after midnight Friday.

“I feel a deep sense of grief for our great city, and for all our communities who are experiencing profound pain, anger and sadness,” Garnett said. His district includes the state Capitol. “I know our city is hurting tonight, and I hope that our grief turns into peaceful action, rather than vandalism and violence. ”

“Tonight, the pain and rage brought on by the death of yet another black man in America at the hands of law enforcement came to a boiling point in Denver,” added Black Caucus Chair Rep. Leslie Herod of Denver. “What began as a peaceful call for justice after the death of George Floyd and far too many others before him turned to chaos when the shots rang. By the end of the night, highways were taken over and protesters had been targeted and intentionally run over. My heart breaks for our community, our city, and our nation tonight.”

Senate Democrats also have canceled their Friday and Saturday sessions, as well as a news conference on a bipartisan bill to repeal the Gallagher amendment, scheduled for noon Friday.

A statement from Senate Democrats Friday said that "the murder of George Floyd was a senseless, gruesome act of police violence that should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The racism and violence that black communities are forced to navigate on a daily basis is abhorrent and must be stopped. We are shocked and heartbroken by the violence that erupted in our city last night and stand in solidarity with those calling for justice. Our duty is to represent the people of Colorado and the best way we can do that right now is by respecting the gravity of this moment.  ... When we return, our priority will continue to be the health, safety, and well-being of all Coloradans.” 

Senate Republicans have not issued any statements about Thursday's events. House Republicans tweeted a statement Friday morning.

"We support everyone's 1st Amendment Right to Peaceful Assembly, but we denounce violence and destruction. That includes the damage caused by some protesters at the Capitol last night. We pray that everyone stays safe in Denver and peace is restored," the tweet said.

Rep. Dave Williams, a Colorado Springs Republican, tweeted last night that "radical leftist & anti-Christian Legislator Leslie Herod is fanning the flames to incite continued rioting & lawlessness. Shameful. Democrats like Herod love criminals & deliberately endanger the public."

He also retweeted a post by President Trump that Twitter placed a tag on last night, claiming it glorified violence.

Herod had claimed that Williams was calling for the murder of protesters.

Senate Republicans issued a statement at 11:30 Friday morning.

"The death of George Floyd is a senseless tragedy that must be investigated, and if and when charges are filed, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," the statement said. "All Americans have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Every single person should be safe and encouraged without threat from the government or any other person in that pursuit. We are shocked and heartbroken by the violence that erupted in Denver last night. The right to peaceably assemble and speak is a fundamental right in this state and country. We must always protect the ability to do that freely and safely.

"Violence has no relationship to that right."

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