Vast Majority Of Protesters Arrested In Denver Were For Curfew Violation

June 1, 2020
George Floyd Denver Police Protest Day 3 NightGeorge Floyd Denver Police Protest Day 3 NightHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Firefighters arrive to put out flames in burning garbage containers at 11th and Lincoln. Denver protesters angry about the death of African American George Floyd at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer took the the streets for a third day Saturday, May 30, 2020.

The vast majority of the arrests in Denver during the protests and riots over the weekend were for curfew violations.

The protests in Denver were one of dozens across the U.S. over the death of George Floyd who died in police custody in Minneapolis last week.

Of the 276 people cited or arrested by Denver officers over four days, 237 were cited for curfew violations, according to data released by the Denver Police Department on Monday. 

Six people were arrested for carrying “missiles” or rocks. Another 10 were cited on “dangerous weapons” violations and one man was arrested for arson. The others were arrested or cited for other charges, including disturbing the peace.

Mayor Michael Hancock imposed overnight curfews on the city on Saturday that will run through this Friday.

“Nothing they did after curfew had anything to do with George Floyd or the message of the peaceful demonstrators,” Hancock said on Colorado Matters on Monday. “They (the protesters) are hell-bent on being provocative and promoting destruction and violence and engagement with law enforcement and they weren’t going to listen.”

It’s unclear how many people arrested or cited are from Colorado because of the 276 names, 126 don’t have verified addresses, police said. A number of juveniles were included in the database with no information.

Of the rest, 144 were from Colorado, which is just more than half arrested or cited. Sixty-eight were from Denver.

During hours of first advisements Monday at the Denver County Court, Magistrate Melissa Annis plowed through more than a dozen in-custody defendants — largely releasing them on no-cash bonds and reminding them of the ongoing curfew in the city. The hearings were held for the first time virtually because of COVID-19.

Some of the defendants Annis knew already and many had existing charges on their records.

City attorney office lawyers urged Annis to require the defendants with pending charges to abide by “area restrictions” — meaning they aren’t allowed to go downtown. City officials are trying to weaken the pool of people out protesting after curfew, but for the most part Annis didn’t agree to them.

A spokeswoman for Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said she was still unsure how many of the cases would be taken to state court — likely those facing more serious charges. 

This could include 37-year-old Anthony Knapp, who faces charges for first-degree assault after driving his car into three police officers, seriously injuring them. Or 28-year-old Sean Price, who faces two assault charges for injuring police officers.

Anti-terrorism officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation are out in force in Denver, as well. A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn said he is authorized to prosecute people charged with rioting, looting or starting fires. No one has been charged yet.

Hancock said the vast majority of protesters are obeying the curfew and respecting Floyd’s life. 

“Some subversive groups have tried to embed themselves into peaceful demonstrations,” he said. “Quite frankly when the curfews have gone into effect … as the night falls, we see this element rise up out of these demonstrations.”

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