DENVER — Demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd marched through Denver on Thursday, at times blocking an interstate, as well as major thoroughfares through downtown.
A cell phone video, which has been shared widely across the country, shows a driver moving through one group walking on Broadway near Colfax Avenue and apparently intentionally hitting a protester.
The video starts with a shot of the crowd and shows a man hanging on the car. It's not clear what happened before the video starts, but according to the Twitter user who posted the video, the man jumped on the vehicle just before she began filming. Another witness who took pictures of the moments just before the incident said they were crossing the street when the driver approached with her window down, shouting at protesters.
The man jumps off the car after a few moments. After, the driver quickly swerves and heads directly for the man, who was hit by the front right end of the vehicle. He falls the ground just after someone yells to him saying to “watch out.”
The man did not appear to be seriously hurt. The driver quickly pulled away, followed by a crowd of the demonstrators.
The Denver Police Department (DPD) said Friday they were aware of the video but had not yet identified either the driver of the vehicle or the man who was hit. They asked anyone with information about either person to contact police or Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867.
“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 protestor,” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement late Thursday night. “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.”
The incident was a brief moment in the hours of chaos that unfolded in Denver.
The protest began peacefully but later in the night, graffiti was left on the Colorado capitol walls and windows were broken out of cars in the parking lot. One group of protesters briefly walked onto Interstate 25, blocking the highway traffic. Several city streets were shut down by protesters, as well.
To manage the crowds, the Denver Police Department (DPD) used a variety of non-lethal rounds like pepper balls, flash-bangs and tear gas. People were seen running through the clouds of smoke and standing with their hands up near the capitol.
Mayor Michael Hancock urged peaceful protests more than once as the night continued:
“Like all of you, I am outraged at the senseless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. His life matters and Denver has joined the chorus of those across the country demanding change and reform and consequences. And yes, we will protest loudly and make our voices heard. But we must not turn on one another. We must stand united.
The men and women of the Denver Police Department are not the enemy. For the last three months as we have weathered the storm of this terrible pandemic, they have put their lives at great risk protecting all of us. The road to recovery is before us, and all of us – black, Latino, Asian, white – all of us must recover together. That doesn’t mean we stand silent when injustice occurs – whether in Minneapolis or in Georgia or in our nation’s capital. We do not stand silent. We move, we act, and with respect, we create change – together.
“More than ever, we need to all pull together, because we can remake this world together, guided by equity and tolerance and justice.”
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