DENVER — Colorado Democratic House leaders called for an investigation after video was posted to social media on Wednesday of Capitol police picking up and removing a student from the House gallery.
Students were at the Capitol to protest gun violence in schools, after schools across the Denver metro area saw walkouts earlier in the day to demand action. Some students in a gallery above the state House chamber were reportedly speaking loudly in the gallery.
Colorado State Patrol said in a statement that the students were "removed when the session was suspended due to disruptive behavior."
The students weren't arrested, CSP said.
Citing transparency, CSP released three body camera videos on Thursday showing troopers removing three students from the gallery.
The videos show the first student leave when asked; the second student not leaving his seat or resisting as officers pick him up by his arms and legs and carry him up the stairs and out of the gallery, and a third student repeatedly yelling "Stop" when officers remove the previous student, before she walks out on her own.
The videos also show troopers lay the student they removed on the floor outside the gallery. The troopers repeatedly ask the student if he wants to go to jail, while the student says the officers ripped his clothing.
The troopers lift the student to his feet and hold his hands behind his back. Another man then tells the student to calm down and that he disrupted a meeting. The student says he didn't do anything and that he's been "hurt."
After about a minute and a half, the troopers release the student and escort him out of the Capitol. He was banned from the Capitol for the rest of the day, according to CSP.
House Speaker Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon, released a statement calling for an investigation into the police response.
"I am concerned with the response to the protest in the House Gallery," McCluskie's statement said in part. "From what we have seen, it was clearly disproportionate to the students’ actions. We are calling for an investigation into the response and will take the necessary steps to prevent this from happening again, including review of the responsibilities, protocols and training for our sergeants at arms.”
House Majority Leader Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge, said in a statement that she was "disappointed" in how the students were treated, "specifically that a young Latino student was dragged out of the chamber with a level of force that felt unnecessary and disproportionate compared to the treatment of his peers."
"I have a lot of questions about how and why this happened – and I intend to address those concerns with state patrol as we work to repair the harm perpetuated to this student and his peers," Duran's statement said.
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