Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers issued a curfew Wednesday, effective immediately, as protests sparked after the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota continue in the city and across the country. The protests around police brutality also invoke the names of De'Von Bailey in Colorado Springs, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, Tony McDade in Florida, Nina Pop in Missouri and others.
The curfew runs from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. through Monday morning. Suthers said the city will monitor the effects of the curfew over the next few days and could extend it into next week.
Essential workers including first responders, medical personnel and credentialed journalists are exempt, as are people traveling directly to and from work.
At a press conference, Suthers said the curfew comes in response to increased conflicts at night between police officers and individuals.
"As the night goes forward, the tenor of the crowd and the composition changes, and things have become more confrontational," said Suthers.
He said the conflicts have resulted in property damage and blocked roadways.
The curfew is not to discourage protestors, said Suthers, but to encourage public safety.
"I'm hoping that citizens who really do want to protest, want to do it safely and peacefully, will understand that after 10 o'clock is not the time to do it," said Suthers.
Suthers said that police will "peaceably, to the extent they can, [use] appropriate force" to disperse crowds gathering after 10 p.m. The curfew comes after Suthers said city officials discussed and watched Denver's curfew last weekend.
"We decided to let things play out [in Colorado Springs] hoping that folks would get the message that if you want to participate in a peaceful protest, the time to do it is during the day," said Suthers.
Suthers said he did not have any meetings scheduled with protesters as of yet. Police Chief Vince Niski was scheduled to appear at the press conference, but Suthers said he was busy after a morning cabinet meeting.
Niski said Tuesday that he's been meeting with a group of community leaders to discuss policing in the city and hear their concerns. The comments came during the chief's first public statement about the protests, in which he apologized for taking so long to respond.
Later on Tuesday, the police department issued a statement in response to a "video circulating on Facebook" that, according to the statement, allegedly shows Colorado Springs police officers using "force to effect an arrest" during the recent protests.
Niski said in the statement that the incident is under review, and that if the review finds officers violated policies or the law, "the appropriate action will be taken."
You are one of the KRCC readers who wants to know what is really going on in Southern Colorado these days. We have got just the thing for people like you: the KRCC Weekly Digest. Sign up here and we will see you in your email inbox soon!