DENVER (CBS4)– The second day of daytime protests in downtown Denver started peacefully, before the situation escalated and police used tear gas to break up out-of-control crowds.
There was a moment during the day on Friday when tensions grew so intense, it felt like violence was imminent. That’s when a civilian stepped in and worked with the police to create an alliance that successfully kept the peace throughout the afternoon protests.
Tay Anderson, an activist and Director of the Denver School Board, approached the police with a solution. He would move the rally to another location if the SWAT teams would stand down. Both sides agreed that the 16th Street Mall was the best location.
Anderson successfully moved the group away from the state Capitol, and as promised, the police provided escorts for the remainder of the protests.
Anderson warned of the “infiltrators” in the crowd that were trying to incite violence and upset the police.
“Your actions will not get us tear gassed. We will not be set up,” Anderson said over a megaphone.
The rest of the afternoon was peaceful, filled with chants of freedom, peace and hope for a brighter future.
The protests appeared to be controlled until about 8 p.m. when officers started using flash bangs and tear gas to disperse the crowd after some had reportedly started throwing rocks and water bottles at officers.
A haze of smoke hung over the Civic Center Station and City and County Building several minutes after the tear gas had been deployed.
The crowd continued to move throughout downtown Denver, eventually moving to the state Capitol lawn where officers tried to keep people from congregating there, flooding the area with tear gas.
Thirteen people were arrested in downtown Denver during Thursday night’s protests over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said the charges of those arrested range from burglary to criminal mischief to assault.
Three officers were also injured on Thursday night, and one had to go to the hospital. That officer’s injuries are not life threatening.