DENVER (CBS4) — The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force is being deployed in Denver to “apprehend and charge violent agitators hijacking peaceful protests and engaging in violations of federal law,” U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn stated Sunday. Dunn said the JTTF has been directed to investigate any potential violations of federal law associated with the ongoing activity in Denver and elsewhere. 

(credit: Evan Semón)

“Together with the FBI, the United States Attorney’s Office will protect all citizens’ right to peacefully protest – especially after the tragic events in Minnesota and elsewhere.  But the last few days have seen protests in Denver hijacked by criminal elements, who have turned these protests into violent riots in our own communities.  While we can and should peacefully advocate for our beliefs, no one may incite a riot, start a fire, or injure other people in the process,” 

The JTTF consists of FBI agents and investigators from federal and local law enforcement agencies, including Task Force Officers from the Denver Police Department. 

“Anyone planning future acts of violence should know that our law enforcement community is united in protecting Colorado, and we will do so,” Dunn stated. “Where violations are identified, prosecutors from my office will hold violators accountable to fullest extent of federal law.”

Many officials, including the mayor of Atlanta, are claiming there are outside agitators working to make the protests violent. President Donald Trump has blamed Antifa.

On Sunday, CBS4’s Kathy Walsh asked Denver Police Chief Paul Pazan if he felt groups such as Antifa were involved in the rioting in Denver.

Pazen blamed “individuals that infiltrate these peaceful marches and conduct criminal behavior.”

“We certainly wouldn’t categorize anybody who has engaged in this type of behavior with groups like that. Again, these are individuals and we focus on individual criminal behavior,” Pazen said.