The Denver Police Department on Saturday night announced several dozen people, some of whom were wearing shields and helmets, were arrested amid unrest and protests.
A group organized to protest at around 9 a.m. downtown and it quickly devolved into what city officials called a riot. They were positioned outside the Denver Police Department headquarters.
“They brought weapons to the table. They had guns. They brought explosives, axes, machetes, and had one intent purpose and that was to harm our officers,” said Murphy Robinson, Denver’s Public Safety Director, according to local media outlets. “I want these anarchists to hear me clearly and loudly that this will not be tolerated in our city. You are not welcome here.”
Authorities said that between 50 and 75 people were arrested for riot-related charges.
Denver’s Mayor Michael Hancock said that using the term “march” or “protest” is highly inaccurate.
“Last night was a riot in our city,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. “We will not be using the words protest or march. This was a riot.”
Robinson said that more resources will be allocated to stopping the riots.
“Effective immediately, I’m suspending the Command PR Bond Jail Inmate cap I put in place due to COVID-19 in March,” he said. That measure was implemented earlier this year to curb the spread of the CCP virus in the jail.
Like in other cities across the United States following George Floyd’s death in May, protesters and agitators were calling for the Denver police department to be abolished, CBS Denver reported.
“I want to speak to you as a black man and as a Denver native,” Robinson said. “The narrative that these anarchists are marching for justice for black lives is frankly false. The public needs to know that you do not represent us. Stop using the color of my skin to tear up my city.”
Footage uploaded by 9News showed extensive damage to stores, including a Quiznos and other buildings. Some anti-police rioters also burned an American flag and threw a bicycle at an officer, a reporter said.
Robinson said the department will attempt to get suspects to pay for the damage they caused.
“A lot of damage was inflicted on buildings last night, particularly public-owned buildings. I have instructed the City Attorney’s Office to prepare, as we can prove, those who inflicted this damage on our building, prepare to hold them fully accountable for restitution,” he said. “This should not be something [borne] by the people of Denver, the taxpayers of this city.”
A Reddit post that was circulating online publicized the “Give Em Hell” protest in Denver, calling on people to “bring your gear.”