BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) – Boulder police estimate between 500 and 800 people were at a massive street party that turned violent Saturday night on University Hill.
Officials are now asking for witnesses to share videos and photos that can help lead to arrests for partiers and possible expulsion for students from the University of Colorado.
“I don’t regard people flipping over a car as a party,” Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said, adding “I don’t regard people throwing bottles and rocks at firefighters and police officers as a party. Those are criminal acts and be treated as such.”
In a statement released on Twitter, Boulder Police said they are also reviewing body camera footage and social media photos and video to identify individuals involved in criminal acts.
Around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, police in Boulder received reports of parties at houses in the 800 block of 12th Street, according to a press conference held Sunday by school and city officials. People attending those parties were given warnings about public health order violations, as the city of Boulder is still under Level Yellow COVID-19 restrictions, which puts a 10-person limit on personal gatherings.
By around 5:45 p.m. a crowd of hundreds started to gather in the University Hill neighborhood. Partiers managed to flip a car, set off fireworks and cause significant property damage before police moved in around 8:30 p.m. and ordered the crowd to disperse.
“It literally was Project X,” CU student Colin Bailey said, adding “All the videos there were people all over the roofs, ceiling, it was insane. There was like a mob of hundreds of people literally walking down College Avenue like chasing the cop cars and they chased them away.”
One armored police vehicle and a fire truck also sustained damage.
“We did deploy a limited amount of tear gas into the area which got to the desired effect,” Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said, adding “I think the decision not to use other force mechanisms was the right decision, obviously, with this crowd, we do not want to agitate further. Believe me, we have excellent body worn cameras video the community is sending this video, there will be arrests.”
Police say no arrests have been made so far.
CU students who have been found not complying with community safety standards and public health orders are facing disciplinary action, including expulsion, from the university.
“If they can’t meet our expectations, they are not welcome at the university,” said Patrick O’Rourke, CU’s chief operating officer.
“Any student who either joined in the gathering in clear violation of public health orders or refused to disperse when asked by law enforcement is subject to disciplinary action,” O’Rourke said. “Any student who is found responsible for having engaged in an act of violence toward police officers, or other egregious acts, including property damage, will face serious sanctions, up to being removed from CU-Boulder and not being readmitted.
They may also face civil and criminal sanctions from the city and county, and we will be assisting in every way that we can with the district attorney’s office and the Boulder police to investigate the crimes that occurred.”
Officials worry the incident could lead to a COVID-19 outbreak and are urging anyone who was there or who knows people who were there to quarantine for 10 days. CU students are asked to test for COVID later this week.