COLORADO SPRINGS — Editor's note: Social media videos featured in this article are from live events amid protesters using strong language. Viewer discretion is advised.
Protests are expected again throughout the county Monday and here in Colorado in response to the death of George Floyd, an African American man who died Monday in Minneapolis while in police custody. His death has sparked unrest nationwide about police brutality.
Traffic around downtown Colorado Springs is expected to be congested near city hall after 10 a.m. Use an alternate route if possible.
Protests began in Denver on Thursday and carried through Friday and Saturday. Protests began Saturday in Colorado Springs as well with hundreds of people gathering downtown.
Local demonstrators met at city hall and marched to Colorado Springs Police Department headquarters, then up to Acacia Park. Later on in the evening, around 6 or 7 p.m., a News5 photojournalist witnessed officers deploy what they referred to as "chemical irritants" when protesters did not follow orders to clear the area near the Police Operations Center in downtown Colorado Springs.
Late Sunday morning, protesters began gathering on Wahsatch Avenue near the U.S. District Court building. News5's Jessica Barreto, who is covering the protest Sunday, said protesters held a moment of silence for "anyone who has experienced injustice." By noon the crowd protesters had increased and began chants of "Hands up, don't shoot" and "Say his name, George Floyd."
Late Sunday afternoon, News5's Colette Bordelon confirmed that between the El Paso County Sheriff's Office and Colorado Springs Police 38 arrests were made Saturday night related to the protest.
As an officer finished speaking with protesters, someone threw a firework or some type of noisemaker at officers. Immediately afterwards, a lieutenant got on a loudspeaker to announce "this is an unlawful assembly" and ordered everyone to disperse.
A few minutes later, a large firework was thrown and exploded right in front of officers lined up with riot shields. Other protesters on site were yelling for agitators to stop throwing objects.
Protesters have initiated a sit-down event facing off with officers in riot gear not too far away, in case there is a confrontation. Last night, protesters that came this close to the building were pushed back using "chemical irritants" as police attempted to close all downtown streets.
A protest in Pueblo is scheduled for Monday evening as well. The Pueblo Police Department is preparing for protesting at 7 p.m. with extra officers on duty.
News5 will continue to follow the protest locally and provide the latest information here:
Monday, June 1
11:45 p.m | Police and protesters head home
Protests ends at 11:45 p.m. after organizers ask everyone to go home. Gas was used by police at the intersection of Cimarron and Nevada to completely disperse the crowd.
11:30 pm. | Police declare unlawful assembly on Protesters
At around 11:30 p.m., police declared an unlawful assembly on the protesters.
Organizers began to ask people to leave and the group moved north up Nevada.
11 p.m. | Protest continue in Colorado Springs at the Police Operations Center
Protesters in Colorado Springs are back at the Police Operations Center.
Police have said they saw criminal activity while people were walking. Police have begun to put on their gas masks.
They have been ordered to leave.
9:30 p.m. | Protest grows in Colorado Springs
A News 5 crew that has been following the protest Monday night reports that protesters returned to the Police Operations Center around 9 p.m. and the size of the crowd had grown significantly.
They said the protest remained peaceful. Protesters were chanting "peaceful protest."
9 p.m. | Pueblo protest ends
At around 9 p.m., the protest at the Pueblo Riverwalk ended peacefully.
8:30 p.m. | Dialogue between police and protesters
The Colorado Springs protest moved to the Police Operations Center around 8 p.m. Monday night.
While there, police engaged in dialogue with protesters. At one point, the crowd began chanting "De'Von Bailey." He was shot by a Colorado Springs Police officer in August 0f 2019.
The situation remained peaceful and protesters left the Police Operations Center for a different part of downtown.
7:30 p.m. | Pueblo Protest grows
The number of protesters in Pueblo has grown. According to a News 5 Photojournalist on scene, there are more than 1,000 people protesting at the Riverwalk.
The protest so far is peaceful.
PUEBLO GEORGE FLOYD PROTEST: More than a thousand people are on the @PuebloRiverwalk protesting for George Floyd. The protest has packed the Riverwalk, and it has been peaceful so far. @KOAA pic.twitter.com/tnJVKFElFI— Carl Winder KOAA (@CWinderKOAA) June 2, 2020
7 p.m. | Protest gets under way in Pueblo
The scheduled protest in Pueblo got underway at 7 p.m. Hundreds of protesters gathered at the Riverwalk carrying sings and chanting.
Early on protesters were chanting "No justice, no peace," and "I can't breathe."
6 p.m. | Protest in Colorado Springs so far remains peaceful
The protest moved to Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs around 6 p.m. News 5's Rob Quirk is at the protest and reports that protest is peaceful. He said the theme seems to be sharing life experience and urging togetherness for common cause.
CSPD officers join protesters at City Hall demanding justice for George Floyd
3:00 p.m. | Protester seen shaking hands and offering hugs to Colorado Springs Police
A citywide curfew will remain in effect in Denver this week, as officials work to curb protests that have led to tension between crowds and police over the last four nights.
An autopsy commissioned for George Floyd’s family found that the 46-year-old died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression when a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes and ignored his cries of distress, the Floyd family’s attorneys said Monday.
“We’re not here to riot anymore. We’re here to stand with you.”
“We’re not here to riot anymore. We’re here to stand with you.”— Jessica Barreto (@BarretoReports) June 1, 2020
Powerful words from a speaker addressing protestors as they sit with police officers on the steps in front of city hall to symbolize unity and solidarity. @KOAA pic.twitter.com/6KzlBU4ykW
Colorado Springs officers took a knee alongside demonstrators at city hall ahead of protest this morning demanding justice for the death of George Floyd. These officers said they're here to lend their support.
A heartfelt moment as CSPD officers kneel alongside demonstrators at city hall ahead of protest demanding justice for the death of #GeorgeFloyd. These officers say they’re here to lend their support because what they all have in common is they “want to do the right thing.” @KOAA pic.twitter.com/b5b7PiiomU— Jessica Barreto (@BarretoReports) June 1, 2020
Colorado Springs Police Department officers are out with some demonstrators this morning to get to know them and find out how they are able to support them today in order to keep the peace.
Before protests get started here at city hall, CSPD officers came out to get to know demonstrators & find out how they can lend their support today so in order to keep the peace. @KOAA pic.twitter.com/ndys4dZLI8— Jessica Barreto (@BarretoReports) June 1, 2020
The crowd that gathered near the Police Operations Center in Colorado Springs dispersed early Monday morning after witnesses tell News 5 that officers fired smoke bombs and rubber bullets.
The gathering was largely peaceful until shortly after midnight when someone fired off a firework and then someone else fired a gun. Witnesses tell News 5 they believe the gun was fired by someone in the crowd.
According to those witnesses, officers announced on a loudspeaker that the gunfire was not coming from CSPD, and that the crowd needed to disperse for their safety. It was a short time later that we're told smoke and rubber bullets were used to push the crowd back.
As of 12:50 a.m., a small number of protesters were gathered near City Hall, but the majority appeared to have gone home.