At least a dozen people were arrested in Denver, Colo., Saturday night after rioters vandalized businesses and clashed with police officers.
9News reported that dozens of demonstrators outside the Denver Police Department (DPD) headquarters called for the department to be abolished.
However, things soon turned violent, with some rioters setting fire to trees and an American flag, while others broke windows and threw fireworks at officers, per the same report.
One officer suffered a concussion and third degree burns but is expected to make a full recovery, according to CBS4 Denver.
A protest in front of Denver Police headquarters is small but has escalated quickly. About 50 protesters are here right now, many with shields and helmets. A van pulled up and passed out shields to protesters. Protesters are at a standoff with a SWAT team now #9News pic.twitter.com/XlzmcenfG9
— Marc Sallinger (@MarcSallinger) August 23, 2020
“What we experienced last night was not a protest, it was anarchy,” Denver Director of Safety Murphy Robinson said, according to The Denver Post. “The people who showed up last night–the anarchists who showed up last night–brought weapons to the table. They had guns, they brought explosives, axes, machetes. And they had one intent purpose, to harm our officers.”
“I want these anarchists to hear me clearly and loudly that this will not be tolerated in our city. You are not welcome here,” Robinson continued, according to CBS4 Denver. “Effective immediately, I’m suspending the Command PR Bond Jail Inmate cap I put in place due to COVID-19 in March.”
A Quiznos restaurant was the victim of rioters, with Democratic Gov. Jared Polis calling the actions “inexcusable” in a tweet Sunday. (RELATED: Denver Police Officer Fired For ‘Let’s Start A Riot’ Instagram Post)
“Just as we all condemn inexcusable acts of terror against a family-owned restaurant, acts of criminal terrorism are just as wrong against corporate chains and public buildings. An attack against any of our lives and property is an attack against all of our lives and property.”
Just as we all condemn inexcusable acts of terror against a family-owned restaurant, acts of criminal terrorism are just as wrong against corporate chains and public buildings. An attack against any of our lives and property is an attack against all of our lives and property. https://t.co/tqmIN7TRLt
— Jared Polis (@jaredpolis) August 23, 2020
The rioters claim the city has failed and refused to address their demands about defunding the police, according to Fox31. Riots also said they wanted to end homeless sweeps, stop racism and seek justice for Elijah McClain, who died a year ago after he was violently stopped by Aurora police, according to The Denver Post.
“Unfortunately we had people who decided that the best way for them to get their point across is to try to inflict violence or engage our police officers in a violent clash,” Mayor Michael Hancock said Sunday, per The Denver Post. “We are not going to stand for it. We are not going to stand for their anarchy, their chaos or their mindless destruction in our city.”
“Last night was a riot in our city,” Hancock said, according to CBS4 Denver. “We will not be using the words protest or march. This was a riot.”
Hancock also shot down claims that the protest was in support of Black Lives Matter, saying, “I want to speak to you as a Black man and as a Denver native. 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.”
Hancock said rioters will pay for any property damage caused, according to CBS4 Denver.
“This should not be something born by the people of Denver, the taxpayers of this city.”