DENVER (KDVR) — For a second day, protesters gathered in downtown Denver calling for justice in the case of George Floyd, a black man who died in-custody in Minneapolis while pleading that he could not breathe.
Around noon Friday, a crowd gathered at the Colorado State Capitol before marching through the city, including down the 16th Street Mall. The midday protests did not escalate as they did the night before.
Protests Thursday night grew to large crowds that moved through the city, with some causing damage along the way. Police spent hours working to break up the protests.
On Friday night, protests again turned violent.
Several fires were set in trash cans and dumpsters in Civic Center Park. At least one vehicle was burned.
A number of buildings in and around downtown were vandalized. Windows were smashed at the Colorado Judicial Center and several other structures in the area.
Some protesters threw rocks, water bottles and other objects at officers.
Police launched tear gas and pepper bullets at crowds in an effort to disperse them.
Other metro-area agencies, including the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, assisted the Denver Police Department and Colorado State Patrol.
Below is a live blog that documented Friday night’s events as they occurred:
Protests have largely died down, but police are still monitoring some smaller crowds around Civic Center Park.
Many windows were smashed at the Ralph Carr Colorado Judicial Center. The building was also vandalized with graffiti.
Denver police and the Colorado State Patrol are getting assistance from other metro-area agencies, including the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
Mayor Hancock issued the following statement about Friday’s events:
“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 George Floyd. 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.”
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock spoke with Jeremy Hubbard and Aristea Brady on the FOX31 News at 10 p.m.
“I’m heartbroken. This is not who we are in Denver,” Hancock said of the violent protests.
The mayor added that he was proud of those who demonstrated peacefully earlier Friday.
He said other cities have seen demonstrations become violent after dark.
Hancock said the protests have likely had a negative impact on the city’s fight against COVID-19.
“I have to believe this is going to be something that sets us back,” he said.
Smaller groups of people have moved onto the 16th Street Mall downtown.
Protesters have set fire to a large dumpster near the Capitol building.
The Colorado Capitol has been vandalized with graffiti. Crews worked during the day Friday to clean graffiti that was left Thursday night.
The Denver Police Department has closed North Broadway at 13th Avenue.
A large number of tactical police officers have gathered near Lincoln Street and 13th Avenue.
According to the Denver Police Department, a female was taken to the hospital after being struck by a projectile near Colfax Avenue and Lincoln Street.
Police have launched multiple devices at protesters near the state Capitol.
Denver School Board member Tay Anderson posted the following message about conflicts with police:
Police have deployed smoke devices near the Civic Center RTD station.
Protesters have thrown items at police.
Officers launched what appear to be flash-bang devices.
Protesters have left the City and County Building and are heading back toward the Capitol.
The crowd has moved from the Capitol to in front of the Denver City and County Building.
Some protesters have thrown water bottles at DPD officers in Civic Center.
The crowd outside the Capitol has grown. A number of social media posts say another protest is planned for 7 p.m.
Protesters have gathered outside the west steps of the Capitol.
At least one statue has been vandalized, with “Down with DPD” spray painted on the side.
A large crowd has gathered in Civic Center.
Denver School Board member Tay Anderson and state Rep. Leslie Herod called for peaceful protests.
The large group of protesters that marched into downtown has returned to Civic Center Park.
Leroy Garcia, a state senator whose truck was damaged by protesters Thursday night, issued a statement about the incident:
A crowd of hundreds of protesters has moved from the Civic Center area into downtown. They have gathered at the corner of 16th Street and Broadway.
The Denver Police Department thanked residents for the peaceful protest that occurred earlier Friday.