DENVER (CBS4) – Once again there was trouble in the streets of downtown Denver. Protesters in the name of Black Lives Matters approached the Denver Police District 6 building at Washington Street and East Colfax Avenue. Police were on hand, but on this night there was uninvited back up.
A few dozen self proclaimed “patriots” lined up several blocks away. Earlier a “call to action” went out on social media, saying “Step up to defend and protect what is ours in Denver.”
Murphy Robinson, Denver’s Executive Director of the Department of Safety said, “The last thing we want is not only for violence and destruction to happen in our city, but two separate entities with two separate interests clash.”
In Kenosha, Wisconsin, two protesters died when clashing with an armed youth who answered a similar call to back police. In Portland, Oregon, a man wearing a “patriot” hat was killed this past weekend during a pro-police event.
In Denver, police spoke with the patriot group. Robinson recalled what was said to the group.
“‘Hey we appreciate you trying to support us, however it’s not helping us.’ I am paraphrasing, ‘We ask you to go ahead and leave at this time and they did so.'”
Police watched them leave when asked. The night ended with chemical dispersal used on opposing protesters. They did not leave when asked.
John “Tig” Tiegen, who organized the patriot response told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger, “We aren’t going down there to intervene with the protesters. Some of the messages, I actually I agree with, I just don’t agree with it when it gets violent.”
Tiegen added they were there to protect businesses that can’t afford insurance for riots and looting. He said they were also there to protect individuals on the streets while police were occupied with protesters.
Robinson noted that the night ended with no arrests, and the patriot group left without incident. He praised police using de-escalation to control the situation. He called it “a win.”
Tiegen says they will be back.