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750+ tips received about Boulder party that turned destructive; police want help to ID suspects

Three SWAT officers were struck with bricks and rocks, leaving them with minor injuries, according to police.

BOULDER, Colo. — Boulder Police (BPD) said no arrests have been made after they responded to a party of about 500-800 people that turned destructive and violent on Saturday night. 

"This was a large-scale incident," Dionne Waugh, Boulder Public Safety public information officer, said. "It’s going to take time to comb through and then piece different aspects of the information together."

Police tweeted out Monday they have received more than 750 tips from a variety of sources who identified people at the party near 10th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, in the area known to University of Colorado Boulder students as the Hill.

"And, these are very solid leads. The video is very good. Photos are very good," Waugh said. "We’ve got a lot of good information from our community members and we’d really like to thank them for all the information they’re sending."

A team of detectives is reviewing tips and several individuals have already been identified, the city said. Detectives are now asking for the public’s help to identify the individuals that can be seen in the video and photos below.

>> Tips can be sent here

BPD, the city of Boulder and CU in a news conference Sunday outlined actions they plan to take against those – many believed to be students – involved in the disturbance. 

Those who organized, did not disperse and caused any city and property damage will be held responsible legally, economically and, when appropriate, academically, officials said during the news conference.  

"Right now, there is a large amount of video and photos that these detectives are going through and it's piecing some of them together," Waugh said.

RELATED: Timeline: Boulder PD explains response to party, disturbance on 'the Hill'

CU Boulder tweeted Saturday evening that BPD was responding to a large party near the Hill and that people in the area could be subject to arrest and CU sanctions. Soon after, three SWAT officers were struck with bricks and rocks, leaving them with minor injuries, according to police. An armored rescue vehicle and a fire truck were heavily damaged.

Officers involved are expected to be OK, BPD Chief Maris Herold said Sunday.

The city spokesperson for Boulder said those who attended the party should quarantine for 10 days, monitor symptoms up to 14 and take advantage of free testing seven days after exposure sites around the city. 

"I think the cost of potential spread is very serious," Angela Simental, Boulder County Public Health spokesperson, said.

Simental said party-goers should quarantine and get a COVID test without fear of getting caught.

"I do want to emphasize that testing is not linked to any gathering so people can go and feel free to test and make sure that if they have a positive COVID test that they isolate," Simental said.

Those with information, photos or videos of the incident are asked to upload it through the city's website.

“Detectives will review every lead we have to identify and arrest those responsible for this reprehensible and unacceptable behavior,” Herold said. 

On Sunday, the Boulder County District Attorney, Michael Dougherty, released a statement saying his office will work with BPD to "determine the identities of the people who damaged private property and assaulted first responders because they should be held fully responsible for their outrageous actions."

The BPD meet virtually with University Hill residents Monday night to talk about the investigation and how to keep incidents like this from happening again.

"You'll definitely be seeing more officers through the neighborhood," Waugh said.

> Watch below: Police give update on Boulder party:

The party

Observers and party-goers took to social media Saturday night with photos and videos of the gathering.

"Looks like there's a mask-less party on the Hill in Boulder," Ben Berman, a CU student, said on Twitter. "Awful, awful look when we're this close to the end of the pandemic."

At 8 p.m., CU Boulder Police said BPD was responding to the party.

At 8:24 p.m., Mitchell Byars, a Daily Camera reporter who was on scene, tweeted a photo of the large gathering and said he did not see police in the area. 

Minutes later, SWAT arrived, according to Byars. 

"Crowd smaller, but still a group not leaving," Byars tweeted. "#Boulder police SWAT vehicle now making high-pitched sounds"

CU Boulder later tweeted that the university was asking people to avoid the Hill area until further notice.

One woman's vehicle was tipped over and damaged by the crowd. Isabella Sackheim, a CU student, said she was visiting a friend who lived there when it happened.

"Definitely pretty crazy," she said by phone on Sunday morning. "I didn't believe it at first, but yeah, really crazy."

Her vehicle sustained damage to the rear bumper, and the back windshield was shattered. When others saw what had happened, they started sending her donations through the Venmo app to help with repairs.

"I think it shows the good and the bad," she said.

A BPD spokesperson said SWAT was called in with the aim of coordinating a safe response to the situation, estimating as many as 1,000 people were there.

During a community meeting on Monday evening, Chief Maris Herold with BPD said calling in SWAT was a culmination of multiple tactics the department had used throughout the afternoon in an attempt to disperse the crowd without using force.

"Dispersing large crowds of intoxicated students: not only is it challenging, but very dangerous," she said. "We are walking a tightrope to disperse them without using force. The last thing you want to do is use force against students for these lower-level violations that precipitated this in the earlier afternoon."

Herold said she was proud of the restraint her officers showed during that response.

BPD tweeted at 9:20 p.m. that the crowd had dispersed and there was no need to board up any businesses.

9NEWS reporter Marc Sallinger witnessed the aftermath firsthand:


Students and community members came out Sunday morning to clean up the streets after the party. 

"I know a lot of CU students wouldn't want to get up at 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning, but a lot of them did," said Hailey Breaker. 

Baker is a senior at CU Boulder and was one of the many volunteers at the Hill Sunday morning. 

"It was just kind of shocking to see that some people would do this to our beautiful community ... it was just kind of covered in trash, so we were all just out there all trying to do our part," she said.

Breaker said they were able to clean up most of the glass that was on the street. 

She called Saturday's events disheartening, but was grateful for the classmates that did help with cleanup efforts. 

"I just think that we should show up when things like this happen and keep our community clean and show everyone else that you know, even though we may not have been the cause of this destruction, we could still help keep Boulder beautiful," Breaker said.

Credit: Hailey Breaker

During Monday night's community meeting, several members of the University Hill Neighborhood Association also expressed frustration over what they view as a pattern of lack of enforcement.

"It's not just Saturday, it's not just when there's 500 people on the Hill," said Lisa Nelson, a neighborhood representative. "It's every day, it's every night. And it's noise and it's parties, and you call the police and you call the police and you call the police and nothing ever happens... the students are left with the realistic perception that there's never a consequence to what they do because they never receive a consequence for what they do because our system is broken."

> Watch the full meeting here:

CU Boulder's Office of the Chancellor sent out a letter that said in part  "To the students who participated in the incident last night: you have embarrassed yourselves and the entire University of Colorado Boulder. Your actions violated university and community standards at every level. A basic condition for being part of CU Boulder is accountability to each other and to the community at all times." 

CU Student Government on Sunday night released a statement calling the incident a riot and said they are deeply disturbed and disappointed in the events that took place. 

The full statement is below: 

CU released the following statement in a CU Boulder Alert Saturday night:

"We are aware of a large party on University Hill on Saturday evening and allegations of violence toward police officers responding to the scene. We condemn this conduct. It is unacceptable and irresponsible, particularly in light of the volume of training, communication and enforcement the campus and city have dedicated to ensuring compliance with COVID-19 public health orders. CU Boulder will not tolerate any of our students engaging in acts of violence or damaging property.

CU Boulder has made it clear to our student body that following county public health orders is required under the student code of conduct. The vast majority of our students have followed these directives. When health officials and police have referred public health order violations to our student conduct office, CU Boulder has responded quickly and imposed discipline when violations were established. Disciplinary actions include interim exclusions from campus and 45 suspensions so far this academic year. We will continue to take these actions to make clear that protecting our community and our campus is of utmost importance and that we will not tolerate such violations. Any student who is found responsible for having engaged in acts of violence toward the law enforcement or other first responders will be removed from CU Boulder and not readmitted. 

We appreciate the efforts of law enforcement to address the unacceptable conduct of these students and apologize to the residents of University Hill for their behavior."

The full statement from Dougherty, the district attorney, is below:

“Our community was put at risk last night by the individuals involved in the incident in the Hill area. Their callous disregard for our community’s safety and well-being is shameful. There is no excuse for this conduct, especially while the people of this community endure the pandemic. The District Attorney’s Office will work closely with the Boulder Police Department to determine the identities of the people who damaged private property and assaulted first responders because they should be held fully responsible for their outrageous actions.”

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