There was no tear gas or pepperbullets, though 11 police officers were standing by — far away from the crowd — in riot gear. Protesters didn’t throw rocks or water bottles. The first few hours of Friday’s organized protest in Denver over George Floyd’s death was markedly calmer than Thursday night, when protesters and police clashed into the night.
But the protest turned from peaceful to chaotic at the hands of people who had arrived after the march, seemingly wanting to fight with police. Around 7 p.m., Denver Public School board member Tay Anderson, who had been leading protesters in a peaceful march, was at Denver’s downtown jail encouraging anyone who had arrived at the protest to instigate fights with the police to leave. Some in the crowd had thrown water bottles at police, who retaliated with tear gas.
“This is not what we wanted,” an exasperated Anderson said. “This is not what Black people wanted.”
By 8:30 p.m., the intersection of Lincoln and Colfax was clogged with tear gas.