Mayor blames outsiders for violence, vandalism in Denver

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DENVER (KDVR) — Law enforcement arrested 284 people involved in the Denver riots over the past four days, including 170 arrests on Sunday. Charges vary, but include violation of the curfew order, criminal mischief, assault to a peace officer, burglary and assault.

Out of those 284, 68 are from the city of Denver and 76 are from elsewhere in Colorado. Six are known to be from out of state. Eight are juveniles. Police have not yet determined where the remaining 126 are from.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock told CNN on Sunday that outsiders were to blame for much of the violence. 

President Donald Trump has blamed Antifa, a left-wing group encouraging members to commit acts of vandalism.

CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer asked Hancock about that and the mayor responded, “I wouldn’t be surprised if Antifa is behind… we don’t have specific information that they are directly engaged but we have intel that we have watched and intercepted quite frankly groups that are coming into Denver. We have confiscated weapons including assault weapons that were headed to the demonstrations. You don’t show up at peaceful demonstrations with assault weapons, handguns, baseball bats.”

Denver police have shared photos of weapons confiscated by officers, but it’s unknown if the weapons belonged to members of specific groups, be they left-wing leaning groups, right-wing militias or just individuals with no known affiliations.  

But in his CNN interview, Hancock suggested there’s reason to believe many of the trouble-makers were organized.

“We’ve been seeing intel for several days now that we knew there was an organized effort embedding themselves using the peaceful protestors as shields to promote their own agenda,” he said.

Hancock did not make himself available to the media on Monday to further explain what his intel is based on, nor did Denver police. 

“The reality is, we have people using these protestors as a veil to promote an agenda that has nothing to do with George Floyd or the values or the message that we’re trying to get across but to promote damage and violence in our cities,” Hancock told CNN. 

The city of Denver said more than volunteers assisted on Monday with clean-up efforts in Civic Center Park and surrounding areas. Additional assistance is anticipated throughout the week. Updates on volunteer opportunities will be posted on the city’s website as they become available. 

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