As night fell, protests and chaos continued in Denver over George Floyd’s death

Protests erupted in downtown Denver Thursday after Floyd died while in police custody in Minneapolis.

A man observes police activity at Colfax Avenue and Logan Street during protests against the death of George Floyd on Thursday, May 28, 2018. (Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)

A man observes police activity at Colfax Avenue and Logan Street during protests against the death of George Floyd on Thursday, May 28, 2018. (Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)

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. 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.

Aehjay Hollenbeck, who lives near 16th and Platte streets, holds up a projectile he says he saw cops shoot at the ground during a protest against the death of George Floyd on Thursday, May 28, 2020. He said the crowd was “rowdy” and some demonstrators threw water bottles at cops. He estimates there were about 200-300 people here. (Esteban Hernandez/Denverite)

Aehjay Hollenbeck, who lives near 16th and Platte streets, holds up a projectile he says he saw cops shoot at the ground during a protest against the death of George Floyd on Thursday, May 28, 2020. He said the crowd was “rowdy” and some demonstrators threw water bottles at cops. He estimates there were about 200-300 people here. (Esteban Hernandez/Denverite)

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.

Protesters and police clash in downtown Denver during a demonstration against the death of George Floyd on Thursday, May 28, 2020. (Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)

Protesters and police clash in downtown Denver during a demonstration against the death of George Floyd on Thursday, May 28, 2020. (Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)

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

Keezy A. leads a march reacting to the death of George Floyd down the 16th Street Mall. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Keezy Allen leads a march reacting to the death of George Floyd down the 16th Street Mall. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Celina Robinson holds up a fist as a protest at the Capitol begins in reaction to the death of George Floyd. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Celina Robinson holds up a fist as a protest at the Capitol begins in reaction to the death of George Floyd. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver Police motorcycle officers block Lincoln Street as a march in reaction to the death of George Floyd leaves the Capitol. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver Police motorcycle officers block Lincoln Street as a march in reaction to the death of George Floyd leaves the Capitol. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Protesters on 20th Street march in reaction to the killing of George Floyd. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Protesters on 20th Street march in reaction to the killing of George Floyd. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Protesters and police clash in downtown Denver during a demonstration against the death of George Floyd on Thursday, May 28, 2020. (Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)

Protesters and police clash in downtown Denver during a demonstration against the death of George Floyd on Thursday, May 28, 2020. (Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)

Protesters and police clash in downtown Denver during a demonstration against the death of George Floyd on Thursday, May 28, 2020. (Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)

Protesters and police clash in downtown Denver during a demonstration against the death of George Floyd on Thursday, May 28, 2020. (Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)

A car's window is smashed outside the state Capitol during demonstrations in downtown Denver against the death of George Floyd on May 28, 2020. (Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)

A car's window is smashed outside the state Capitol during demonstrations in downtown Denver against the death of George Floyd on May 28, 2020. (Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)

A march reacting to the death of George Floyd comes face to face with authorities at 20th Street and Chestnut Place. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A march reacting to the death of George Floyd comes face to face with authorities at 20th Street and Chestnut Place. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Protesters and police clash in downtown Denver during a demonstration against the death of George Floyd on Thursday, May 28, 2020. (Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)

Protesters and police clash in downtown Denver during a demonstration against the death of George Floyd on Thursday, May 28, 2020. (Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)

Protesters in downtown Denver demonstrate against the death of George Floyd on Thursday, May 28, 2020. (Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)

Protesters in downtown Denver demonstrate against the death of George Floyd on Thursday, May 28, 2020. (Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)

Police in downtown Denver as protesters demonstrate against the death of George Floyd on Thursday, May 28, 2020. (Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)

Police in downtown Denver as protesters demonstrate against the death of George Floyd on Thursday, May 28, 2020. (Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)

Police in riot gear at Colfax Avenue and Logan Street during protests against the death of George Floyd on Thursday, May 28, 2018. (Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)

Police in riot gear at Colfax Avenue and Logan Street during protests against the death of George Floyd on Thursday, May 28, 2018. (Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)

A woman pours milk on her face after Denver police hit her with pepper spray at close proximity during protests in reaction to the killing of George Floyd. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A woman pours milk on her face after Denver police hit her with pepper spray at close proximity during protests in reaction to the killing of George Floyd. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A trashcan at the corner of Broadway and Colfax Avenue burns as protesters react to the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A trashcan at the corner of Broadway and Colfax Avenue burns as protesters react to the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Protesters rush to put out a fire set on an unhoused resident's tent by a Denver Police smoke bomb thrown during a massive reaction to the killing of George Floyd. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Protesters rush to put out a fire set on an unhoused resident's tent by a Denver Police smoke bomb thrown during a massive reaction to the killing of George Floyd. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver police aim paintball guns filled with pepper balls as protesters react to the killing of George Floyd by the state Capitol. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver police aim paintball guns filled with pepper balls as protesters react to the killing of George Floyd by the state Capitol. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A man holds up his hands as protesters by the Capitol react to the killing of George Floyd. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A man holds up his hands as protesters by the Capitol react to the killing of George Floyd. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

This story is developing and will be updated.

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