Police and protesters clashed in downtown Denver for the second night in a row Friday, as hundreds demonstrated against the killing of George Floyd, a black Minneapolis man who died while being arrested by the police on Memorial Day. On Friday night in Denver, windows were broken, buildings were spray painted, fires were set, and tear gas deployed as police worked to disperse the crowds.
See updates from Friday's protests here:
11:50 p.m. Several small fires are burning in Liberty Park near the Capitol.
One dumpster fire and two other small blazes at Liberty Park pic.twitter.com/JQL0a6cyFi— Evan Wylοge (@EvanWyloge) May 30, 2020
10:58 p.m. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock issues the following statement on Twitter:
What we are seeing tonight is needless, senseless and destructive. Once again, the violent actions of a few are drowning out legitimate calls for justice. Twice today, we had peaceful, successful demonstration where people expressed their outrage over the death of #GeorgeFloyd.
We saw them, we heard them, and they respected their cause. Unfortunately, another element with selfish motives and reckless intentions infiltrated tonight’s demonstration and incited violence with homemade explosives, rocks, bottles, graffiti and vandalism.
This is not who we are, and calmer heads must prevail. Our police officers have a sworn duty to maintain everyone’s safety – and they will. People are crying out to be heard, but this violent distraction only divides us.
10:51 p.m.: People have smashed out windows at the Colorado Supreme Court Building.
Colorado Supreme Court building is going to need some new windows. pic.twitter.com/B0IlyJDMZR— Evan Wylοge (@EvanWyloge) May 30, 2020
8:22 p.m. Tear gas fills the air near the Capitol at sunset.
8:05: Police presence grows near the Capitol as protesters throw rocks, water bottles.
There is something of a standoff going on right now across Colfax. Protestors are lobbing water bottles and other objects at these officers positioned in front of the @RideRTD Civic Center station. #9news pic.twitter.com/dctuVe4xa5— Steve Staeger (@SteveStaeger) May 30, 2020
6:55: Protesters hit with pepper spray, pepper pellets
6:30: Demonstrators are chanting at the Capitol as a light rain falls. A few are spray painting.
6:05: Hundreds of people have regrouped on the Capitol steps.
5:36 p.m. Protest organizers begin to wrap up their demonstration at Civic Center Park's Greek Amphitheater, asking everyone to get home safe. The crowd is dispersing, although some are lingering.
5:25 p.m. Denver could see scattered thunderstorms between 6 and 7:45 p.m. today, according to the National Weather Service.
5:05 p.m. Demonstrators are now snaking back toward Broadway and the state Capitol. Many are chanting in unison, "Say his name! George Floyd!" and "Hands up! Don't shoot!"
4:48 p.m. The protest has moved to the 16th Street Mall.
4:23 p.m. Denver's SWAT team is on the scene.
4:18 p.m. At least five people have been taken into custody. During the Thursday night protests, 13 people were arrested for burglary, criminal mischief and assault, Denver police chief Paul Pazen said in a press conference Friday.
4:06 p.m. VIDEO: Yelling and chanting at the protest in tweet below:
3:48 p.m. After a couple hours of relative calm, tensions have begun to rise again. Police have come out and arrested at least one person.
1:45 p.m. Marchers are now headed south along Lincoln Street. Police have continued to maintain a respectful distance.
Karl held a sign that claimed "Colorado media" was "suppressing protest coverage." He said protesters Thursday night descended on a police station near the Capitol. He said police used rubber bullets against protesters and five or six people were badly injured, both by rubber bullets and tear gas canisters.
He said his message to his fellow protesters is to be safe. "It's up to us to keep each other safe. Not by preventing people from risking their own lives — that's their choice — but risking other people's lives by throwing things at police and taunting them, when other people are right up against the riot police. We need to protect each other."
1:38 p.m. The crowd is blocking downtown traffic, currently at 14th and Lincoln.
1:20 p.m. The crowd, which reached about 250 to 300 in numbers, has arrived back at the Capitol.
1:10 p.m. As marchers pass by, a loudspeaker outside of a coffee shop on the 16th Street Mall is playing Neil Young's version of "Ohio," the 1970s' Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young hit about the murder of four students by the National Guard at Kent State University.
12:45 p.m. Zack, who owns Sole Street Shoes on the 16th Street Mall, says he is boarding up his windows for the second time. He said he got a call from his alarm company around 10:30 p.m. Thursday night that there had been a break-in. The store was looted, Zack said, but the Denver police did apprehend a couple of looters, who were young adults. He boarded it up, only to see those boards torn down and another round of looting take place around 2:30 a.m.
"We absolutely defend the right to peacefully protest but don't want to see any kind of damage done. It's difficult enough when we've been shut down this long. An added expense like this is extremely difficult."
12:30 p.m. Protesters are on the 16th Street Mall. Anderson says their goal is to make those dining outside "wake up."
12:15 p.m. Protesters stopped at the Denver City and County Building, shouting "Shame on you," directing anger at Mayor Hancock or the Denver Police Department.
12:05 p.m. Protesters, led by DPS board member Tay Anderson, are headed to the 16th Street Mall. Chants of "Say his name! George Floyd!" and "No Justice, No Peace, no racist police" can be heard all along the way.
11:20 a.m. About 30 officers from Denver Police and the Colorado State Patrol are meeting in a committee room in the Capitol basement. Their riot gear sits outside the door.
Garcia is in the Capitol, and told Colorado Politics his vehicle is substantially damaged. The state has no liability over the truck, he said, and he's wrangling with his insurance company, which is refusing to pay for the damage. He just paid the vehicle off last month.
10:40 a.m. State Rep. Leslie Herod of Denver, who took part in Thursday night's protest and first posted information about shots being fired at protesters, told reporters Friday that she won't be silenced. She noted that during Wednesday's debate on remote voting,she was accused of calling fellow lawmakers racists, when she was only trying to bring up issues around race during the pandemic. "I will continue to talk about how people of my community, black and brown people, face injustice and acts of violence just for being who they are. We can't continue to wait for more instances before we do something about it."
"I'm asking for law enforcement officers to be held to a reasonable standard," Herod said.
"I stand in solidarity with the peaceful protesters who seek change."
Herod declined to comment about the Denver Police response to Thursday night's protests. However, she said, "if there was inappropriate use of force, I expect Chief [Paul] Pazen, Mayor Michael Hancock and District Attorney Beth McCann to bring justice to that situation and remove those folks from the force."
10:30 a.m. The graffiti from Thursday night has been power-washed off the building, but there's still plenty of signs of the protests and some of the damage.
Workers are putting up plywood sheets on all the ground-floor windows of the Capitol in case Friday's protest also turns violent.
A handful of protesters are already at the Capitol in preparation for the next round.