Headlines June 1, 2020
A march honoring George Floyd is scheduled for 5pm this afternoon starting at the state capitol in Denver.
Thousands are expected to gather in what will be the 5th day of protests calling for justice for George Floyd, the Black man who was murdered by police in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.
Denver mayor Michael Hancock this morning extended the curfew for the city until Friday morning.
The curfew, first imposed on Saturday, had begun at 8pm every evening; it now goes from 9pm through 5am.
The Colorado Independent reports that the Denver police department has received complaints over a social media posting, apparently by Officer Tommy McClay, of a photo of three police officers in riot gear with the caption “Let’s start a riot.”
The police have been criticized for their use of force against crowds over the past four nights of protests. Rick Bailey, an attorney from Denver, was at the protests on Friday and Saturday as a legal observer, monitoring police activity. Bailey told KGNU that he saw police use tear gas and pepper balls on protestors.
“My sense is that the police response was incredibly aggressive. I observed more of that on Saturday night but I observed some of it on Friday night and I did not see them being provoked,” he said. Bailey said that the protests were over racist police violence, so the crowds were expressing their anger against law enforcement. “So they’re shouting at the police but that does not to me seem to be a provocation, I did not see any kind of physical provocation.”
The Colorado Sun reports that the FBI and federal prosecutors in the state are working to identify and potentially charge so-called “agitators” they believe joined Denver’s protests who they say incited and carried out most of the criminal activity over the past several days.
U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn, a Trump appointee, told the Sun that he believes getting that small number of criminal instigators off the street will help bring calm and allow peaceful protesters to have their message heard.
The City of Boulder today announced more staff layoffs and furloughs due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Effective today the City will lay off 56 standard and fixed-term employees, end temporary roles with an additional 68 employees and furlough an additional four standard employees. 103 staff positions which are currently vacant will remain so through the end of 2020, for an estimated cost savings of $5 million, according to a press release from the city.
The Boulder Bolder will not take place at all this year. The race was scheduled to happen over Memorial Day Weekend but was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Race organizers had hoped it might take place on Labor Day but today they announced that it has been postponed until May 2021.
Hundreds of protesters in Denver demonstrated for a fourth day against police violence and demanding justice in the name of George Floyd, the African American man who was murdered by officers in Minneapolis.
Protesters marched along East Colfax Avenue after Denver’s 8 p.m. curfew went into effect. Some set off fireworks and started dumpster fires. Police responded by dispersing the crowds with tear gas and pepper balls.
Denver 7 reports that protesters were mostly peaceful throughout the day and into the evening. Earlier on Sunday, many gathered on the lawn at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts lying on their stomachs with their hands behind their backs chanting, “I can’t breathe”
Crowds then greatly increased in size ahead of the curfew. Shortly before 9 p.m. police shot tear gas near the intersection of Colfax and Clarkson close to the Denver Police substation for the downtown and Capitol Hill areas.
Officers continued to disperse crowds along Colfax, using tear gas, flash-bang devices and foam bullets. But even past 11 p.m., crowds remained scattered in the neighborhoods along Colfax and near the State Capitol.
Sunday’s events in Denver played out as they did the previous four days with peaceful demonstrations, and then crowds gathering around the State Capitol where police tried to move them back.
After about 5 in the afternoon Sunday, protesters confronted officers at the city’s police headquarters, and then marched to the District 6 station in Capitol Hill.
Officials said that 83 people were arrested on Saturday night for violating the 8 p.m. curfew that was imposed by Mayor Michael Hancock earlier in the day.
On Saturday Gov. Jared Polis approved Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s request to utilize the Colorado National Guard to support the city with public safety efforts through the weekend.
KDVR reports that the national guard personnel will be additional and separate to those already aiding in the COVID-19 response.
In other related developments, Jason Dunn, the U.S. Attorney for Colorado said Sunday evening that the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force would be deployed to work the protests “to apprehend and charge violent agitators hijacking peaceful protests and engaging in violations of federal law.”
R.T.D. is extending the suspension of bus and rail service to Downtown Denver through the end of today to ensure the safety of employees and riders. Union Station and Civic Center Station remain closed. And many light rail routes are affected.
In Boulder on Saturday people rallied and marched about 3 miles through city streets demanding racial equity and justice for those killed by police.
The Daily Camera reports that the rally was called – Boulder in Solidarity: Justice for George Floyd. The protest started in Central Park at about 10:30 in the morning with roughly 500 people mostly wearing face masks to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The Boulder demonstrators also paid homage to Ahmaud Arbery, 25-year-old Georgia man who was fatally shot Feb. 23 while jogging, and Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old woman who was fatally shot in March by police in Louisville, Ky.
More than a dozen speakers told the crowd on Saturday that rallying only does so much. They called on the people to use their voices to demand city leaders and legislatures improve racial equity, and also to start a conversation with their family and friends.
For the second straight day Colorado health officials announced that there were no new fatalities tied directly to COVID-19, and there were only two additional deaths of people who had the virus, but was not listed as the cause of death.
The Denver Post reports that deaths announced by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment did not necessarily occur in the past 24 hours, as there can be a lag of days or even weeks in reporting them to the state. Coronavirus deaths in Colorado have been declining since a peak in mid-April.
Hospitalizations of coronavirus patients also continue to decline, with 297 people currently hospitalized for COVID-19 in the state — the first time that number has fallen below 300 since March 27.
On Friday, Gov. Jared Polis extended his previous order on housing protections for 15 days. The governor’s order limits evictions, foreclosures and utility disconnections. It also expedites the processing of unemployment insurance claims.
A release from the Governor’s office says he has also extended the suspension of some requirements for proposed ballot initiatives during the pandemic and authorizes the collection of signatures by email or mail.
The City of Denver will continue on with its own moratorium on evictions. Mayor Hancock said in March that Denver sheriff’s deputies would be directed away from evictions indefinitely during the virus outbreak.
A city spokesperson said in an email to The Denverite late last week that Denver’s order will not expire on May 31 and will stay in place until further notice.
As of Sunday, the Boulder homeless shelter on 30th street began transitioning away from providing services. Isabel McDevitt, the director of Bridge House, which has run the shelter, expressed her concern about the move coming at the wrong time after a policy shift that has limited who can obtain services.
The Daily Camera reports that closure of the shelter had been planned for more than a year, and the property is set to become affordable housing units.
Bridge House’s lease on the facility was set to expire this year, and it extended its nightly operations through Sunday, as the pandemic struck locally. McDevitt is worried that Boulder is losing too much bed capacity amid a pandemic that is expected to put more Americans on the street.