Colorado General Assembly on pause due to Denver protests

PROMO 660 x 440 Government - Colorado Capitol - iStock
Published Friday, May 29, 2020
by Derek Draplin | The Center Square

(The Center Square) - Colorado's Democratic-controlled General Assembly won't convene on Friday or Saturday following protests in Denver.

Protesters gathered on Thursday around the state Capitol demonstrating about the death of George Floyd, who was killed by police in Minneapolis.

At one point during the protests, shots were fired nearby, but no one was reported injured. Some vandalism and violence was also documented on social media.

One video on Twitter that went viral showed a car hitting a protester and driving away.

"I feel a deep sense of grief for our great city, and for all our communities who are experiencing profound pain, anger and sadness," House Majority Leader Alec Garnett, D-Denver, said in a statement about the state House not convening Friday and Saturday. "I know our city is hurting tonight, and I hope that our grief turns into peaceful action, rather than vandalism and violence. To allow space for protests that we expect to continue on Friday and into the weekend, the House will not convene tomorrow or Saturday."

The protests in Denver come as Minneapolis has been gripped with protests over Floyd's death that have spilled into riots.

"Tonight, the pain and rage brought on by the death of yet another black man in America at the hands of law enforcement came to a boiling point in Denver," said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, chair of the Black Caucus. "What began as a peaceful call for justice after the death of George Floyd and far too many others before him turned to chaos when the shots rang. By the end of the night, highways were taken over and protestors had been targeted and intentionally run over. My heart breaks for our community, our city, and our nation tonight."

Senate Democrats said in a statement it was suspending operations in deference to the protesters.

The General Assembly reconvened earlier this week after being adjourned since March 14 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our duty is to represent the people of Colorado and the best way we can do that right now is by respecting the gravity of this moment," the statement said. "Therefore, in deference to the demands for police accountability, we will be suspending all legislative work until Monday, June 1. When we return, our priority will continue to be the health, safety, and  well-being of all Coloradans."

Colorado House Republicans condemned the violence and vandalism.

"We support everyone's 1st Amendment Right to Peaceful Assembly, but we denounce violence and destruction. That includes the damage caused by some protestors at the Capitol last night," House GOP tweeted. "We pray that everyone stays safe in Denver and peace is restored."

Colorado Senate GOP called Floyd's death "a senseless tragedy that must be investigated."

"We are shocked and heartbroken by the violence that erupted in Denver last night. The right to peaceably assemble and speak out is a fundamental right in this state and country. We must always protect the ability to do that freely and safely. Violence has no relationship to that right," they said. "Our duty is to represent the people of Colorado, who we are confident condemn violence in all forms and support the protection of all people regardless of race, gender, creed, sexual orientation, or life circumstances."

Gov. Jared Polis also weighed in late Thursday, calling it "a very sad night for our state."

"While we are still uncovering all of the facts about what took place, a protest regarding the killing of George Floyd devolved into vandalism and violence, and I was absolutely shocked by video evidence of a motorist attempting to run over a protestor. Coloradans are better than this," he said. "I share the immense anguish we all feel about the unjust murder of George Floyd. But let me be clear, senseless violence will never be healed by more violence."

KiowaCountyPress.net may earn an affiliate commission if you purchase products or services through links in an article. Prices, when displayed, are accurate at the time of publication but may change over time. Commissions do not influence editorial independence.