AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) -– New details have surfaced about what Aurora police officers encountered during Friday night’s protest.
Protestors planned to storm the District 1 station near Montview and Wheeling.
For seven hours, officers were trapped inside the building. Once the crowd dispersed, police found gas cans and homemade weapons stashed in the surrounding area.
“The unfortunate part is they trapped our officers inside, not just them being around the building, but physically wrapping ropes and other items around the doors of the district one station, around the entry exit gates our patrol cars come out of .. that was probably the most dangerous part,” Aurora Police Department spokesperson Matthew Longshore said.
FOX31 has confirmed numerous officers were trapped inside, although the department would not release exact numbers.
Sources also confirm protesters chained the doors from the outside, preventing the officers from leaving the building.
Officers finally moved in around 3:30 a.m. Saturday to clear the crowd.
“There wasn’t a rush to come in move people out. The officers were safe inside. We wanted to give the people the ability to express their First Amendment right, to protest, peacefully assemble and make their voices heard, so we didn’t have an immediate rush to go in and clear people out. Waiting a little bit longer, the crowd size became smaller, so we had an advantage,” Longshore said.
Protestors barricaded streets with anything they could find.
Sources tell FOX31 officers found homemade weapons, and gas cans stashed in the surrounding area. Officer Longshore confirmed: “We found gas cans, full of gasoline that were staged in that immediate area.”
APD said officers did not use force until force was used on them.
“They were starting to take the big mortar style type fireworks while they were trying to untie the gates so officers could come and go, they started throwing fireworks at them. Not only that, someone had a fire extinguisher, they were spraying our officers with a fire extinguisher. We didn’t use any force until they started doing it to us, that’s when we used 40 millimeter foam rounds, no pepper spray or tear gas or smoke,” Longshore said.
Officers say there were multiple groups participating.
“We kind of see it as an accomplishment they backed down, and we go home and replenish,” Some protestors told FOX31.
Aurora PD says they will continue to support the rights of peaceful protestors.
“Come get your message across. That’s great, but to put officers’ lives at risk or the community’s lives at risk because we can’t respond because we are trapped inside of a building, that’s not right.”
Two people were arrested. No injuries were reported.