Chaos ensued Thursday following a peaceful protest at the State Capitol over the in-custody death Monday of George Floyd, an African-American man who died at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis.
A small group of protesters had gathered in front of the state house around 5 p.m., calling on prosecutors to charge the officer involved in Floyd’s death with murder, before marching toward downtown. Around 5:35 p.m., six or seven shots were fired near 15th and Colfax, scattering protesters across the hill in front of the Capitol. The Denver Police Department said there are no reported injuries or damage to property at the Capitol. The department does not have a suspect in custody and as of 8:35 p.m.
Protesters at the initial gathering marched west. Protesters also blocked the intersection of Broadway and Colfax, near the Capitol, and temporarily closed streets downtown and I-25 near the Highland Bridge.
As the protest continued, the mood changed. DPD deployed officers in riot gear to the various protests, which grew increasingly heated as the night wore on. Officers used mace on protesters and deployed “pepperballs,” or non-lethal bullets, while protesters near the intersection of 16th and Platte threw water bottles at police. In a video circulating social media, a car ran through protester blocking the intersection of Colfax and Broadway, then turned around, heading for the group that had blocked its way.
As of 8:35 p.m., DPD hadn’t arrested any protesters.
State Rep. Leslie Herod, a Democrat from Denver, was at the Capitol and heard the gunshots. Herod said whoever fired the weapon “definitely” shot into the protesters and the crowd on the west steps of the Capitol. She estimated there were about 100 people outside the Capitol when the shots rang.
Herod said it took her and others a moment to realize shots had been fired. “State patrol came and told everyone to get on the ground or run,” Herod said.
On Thursday prior to the shooting, DPD chief Paul Pazen issued a statement about Floyd’s death.
What we saw
This story is developing and will be updated.