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37-year-old man accused of driving car into 3 officers during May protests pleads not guilty

Anthony Knapp is accused of intentionally driving his vehicle into three officers, causing them serious bodily injury.

DENVER — A 37-year-old man accused of using his car to intentionally strike three officers engaged with riot-control measures in Denver in May pleaded not guilty in court Monday.

Anthony Knapp pleaded not guilty to all charges in relation to the incident, but waived the reading of charges in court. According to a Denver Police Department (DPD) probable cause (PC) statement, the crash caused serious bodily injury to all three officers.

According to court documents, the charges against Knapp include:

  • Three counts of attempted first-degree murder with extreme indifference
  • Three counts of first-degree assault with extreme indifference
  • Six counts of attempted first-degree assault with extreme indifference
  • Three counts of first-degree assault with a deadly weapon
  • Nine counts of first-degree assault, threatening peace officer with a weapon
  • One count of leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injury
  • One count of tampering with physical evidence.

One civilian was also struck in the incident, DPD said.

Knapp is due in court again for a motions hearing on Dec. 17. The court set his trial date for May 9, 2021.

The three officers injured were in the 1500 block of Logan Street at 11:08 p.m. on May 30 as part of coordinated crowd and riot control measures taking place in the downtown area. 

> In the video above, which aired May 31, a Denver man shares video of  the aftermath after three officers were hit by a car during protests.

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That was the third night of May protests in Denver related to the in-custody death of George Floyd. The protests, which were peaceful during the day, turned into rioting at night and included fires, vandalism, graffiti and looting. Police on numerous occasions deployed tear gas and pepper spray to gain control of the crowd.

The officers were standing next to a Denver Police Rapid Deployment Vehicle (RDV) — sometimes referred to as a SWAT van — when a black, 2017 Chevrolet Cruze traveling at a high rate of speed swerved toward the officers, according to the PC statement. 

The PC statement says the officers were struck and taken to a nearby hospital via ambulance — where it was later determined one had sustained a fractured leg and the other two sustained "substantial risk of protracted loss or impairment of any part or organ of the body." Nine other officers were in "grave danger of being struck," and two officers had to flee to avoid being struck, the PC statement says.

The driver continued northbound on Logan Street, the PC statement says, and a witness told officers that the vehicle was traveling at about 65-70 mph and that the driver turned into the officers "with intention."

A subsequent investigation led detectives to an apartment building at 1025 Sherman St. in Denver, where they saw the Chevy Cruze with extensive front-end damage parked in a lot behind the building, the PC statement says.

The vehicle was registered to Knapp and an address inside the apartment building, according to the PC statement. Detectives learned from a female inside the apartment that, according to the PC statement, Knapp had borrowed her car to go to the store.

They located her vehicle and stopped it and contacted Knapp, where they ultimately asked him if he'd be willing to go to DPD headquarters voluntarily, which he agreed to, according to the PC statement.

Another witness who lives at the apartment building at 1025 Sherman St. said at about 9:20 p.m., she saw a male in the parking lot yelling about being maced and saw the man in a black Chevy Cruze subsequently leave the parking lot, the PC statement says.

An additional witness also saw a man coughing and sputtering in the parking lot and leave in a Chevy Cruze, the PC statement says.

Both witnesses also said the vehicle looked like it had front-end damage the following morning, the PC statement says.

A Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) report shows Knapp's prior offenses include a few traffic violations.

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