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Crowds take to the streets in downtown Denver to protest death of George Floyd

denver protest brett forrest
Brett Forrest

DENVER (KRDO) -- What started as a rally at the Colorado State Capitol Thursday evening soon turned into an apparent riot as crowds took to the streets to protest the death of George Floyd, a black Minnesota man who died in police custody after an officer subdued Floyd by kneeling on his neck.

The crowd initially gathered at the Capitol around 6 p.m. chanting and holding signs, according to our Denver partners at 9News. As the group was dispersing, shots were fired near the remaining crowd of protesters. Denver Police is investigating and says it's not clear if the shots were connected to the rally. No one was injured by any gunfire.

The crowd later split up into multiple groups, some of them marching to the interstate and to other parts of downtown. Around 7 p.m. a group walked on to I-25, blocking traffic at Speer for about 30 minutes.

A startling video shared to Twitter shows a car running over a protester. Other footage obtained by 9News shows protesters spray painting the steps of the Capitol and police officers shooting some type of gas at protesters.

Protesters moved to East Colfax Avenue, which was eventually closed in the area of Washington Street, according to 9News reporters. Denver police officers in full riot gear deployed more chemical rounds into the crowd. There are also reports of protesters damaging cars outside the Capitol building.

It's unclear how many people have been injured.

Gov. Jared Polis released the following statement late Thursday in response to the protests:

Tonight is a very sad night for our state. While we are still uncovering all of the facts about what took place, a protest regarding the killing of George Floyd devolved into vandalism and violence, and I was absolutely shocked by video evidence of a motorist attempting to run over a protester. Coloradans are better than this. I share the immense anguish we all feel about the unjust murder of George Floyd. But let me be clear, senseless violence will never be healed by more violence. 

These are extremely difficult times for our state, country, and world. Now more than ever we need to lift each other up and do right by each other. I ask everyone to make their voice heard peacefully and to turn their anger into advocacy and action -- never violence.

This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.

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Suzie Ziegler


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