A protest that began peacefully Thursday evening at the State Capitol over the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis, escalated into chaos. Protesters shutdown I-25 and streets downtown as Denver police dressed in riot gear shot pepperballs and tear gas into crowds.
Protesters will gather again today at the State Capitol at noon. Yesterday’s group called on prosecutors to charge the police officers involved in Floyd’s death.
It’s unclear how Thursday’s protests escalated. A group had gathered in front of the Capitol without incident, eventually marching west. Around 5:30 p.m., gunfire rang near the state house, though it’s unclear who shot the six or seven bullets.
State Rep. Leslie Herod, a Democrat from Denver, was at the protest. She said shots were fired into the crowd.
“This evening, I joined protesters outside the Capitol in support of George Floyd who was murdered by the police in Minnesota. Shots were fired into the peaceful protest. We will continue to make our voices heard and demand justice for Black communities. We will not be deterred by this unspeakable act of violence.”
A few hours later, crowds had gathered at Colfax Avenue and Broadway, blocking the intersection. An SUV drove through a group of men before turning around and attempting to hit them. Another group of protesters blocked traffic on I-25 under the Highland Bridge. Tear gas hung in the air and passersby and protesters were injured by pepperballs shot by the police.
Protests marched on cities around the U.S. last night, from Albuquerque to Minneapolis, where a police precinct burned.
We’ve reached out to Denver police for more information about today’s protest. Follow our coverage here and on Twitter @Denverite.