Officers and protesters clashed Friday night time in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood exterior a police division precinct, with pepper balls and tear gasoline used towards the group, a division spokesperson confirmed.
The chaos got here after hours of peaceable rallies and marches across the metropolis honoring the 57th anniversary of the historic March on Washington.
After darkish a bunch of a pair hundred marched to the sixth District police precinct on North Washington Road close to Colfax Avenue, the place protesters proceeded to shake a sequence fence and yell at police, mentioned participant Jess Wiederholt.
Officers then fired pepper balls and tear gasoline in response to what police spokeswoman Ana Munoz mentioned was an try by protesters to interrupt by means of the fence across the precinct.
“I used to be on the entrance line with an umbrella towards the fence, and all the oldsters have been doing was shaking the fence,” Wiederholt mentioned, disputing the characterization that folks have been attempting to tear it down and get to the constructing. “I noticed no violence moreover shaking and screaming. That’s what prompted them to shoot.”
Wiederholt mentioned she awakened this morning with a big welt on her thigh from the pepper balls.
“This is perhaps the worst I’ve skilled,” she mentioned. “They went at it sturdy. For not being violent, it was harsh.”
Counter-protesters additionally confirmed up Friday night time, and Munoz mentioned the group dispersed after police informed them to go away.
In audio captured by a Denverite photographer from the scene, a person recognized by the information group as a Denver police lieutenant will be heard telling the opposition group: “We respect you coming right here and giving us help” earlier than asking them to go away.
“We actually need you guys to simply disengage and return to your vehicles and name it an evening as a result of we don’t need to must take enforcement motion on you guys,” the lieutenant mentioned.
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Munoz mentioned she hadn’t heard the audio however didn’t dispute that an officer might have mentioned one thing alongside these traces.
“Our primary aim is to diffuse conditions peacefully,” she mentioned. “We don’t help any of the teams — we simply respect everyone’s voice in the event that they need to be there.”
However protesters say police kettled their rally immediately into the opposition group.
“If you go face to face with white supremacists, and after they have weapons, you run the opposite course,” Wiederholt mentioned.
The protesters and counter-protesters by no means had a lot interplay, Wiederholt and Munoz mentioned, as each teams dispersed.
There have been no accidents or arrests, Munoz mentioned, and the one harm got here to the chain fence.