A protest rally in support of police turned violent in Fort Collins on Saturday after counter-protesters showed up resulting in brawls. The violence ended with multiple people being arrested and detained by Fort Collins police, CBS Denver reported.
Protesters in support of the police gathered outside police headquarters on South Timberline Road. However, counter-protesters soon arrived, and tensions quickly escalated as the groups clashed with each other.
“Both sides had active aggressors, and enforcement action was taken against people identifying with both groups,” police stated on Sunday. “Officers are reviewing video and actively working to determine who these people were so they can be held accountable.”
Numerous police supporters were seen on video clashing with counter-protesters in a drainage ditch. The video was posted on Facebook and has gone viral in a short period of time. The Sun reports, a group of men who attended the rally approached a group of counter-protests dressed in black. Then all hell breaks loose as the two groups approached the ditch, a fight broke out among the groups with people scuffling on the ground, punching each other, and curse words being flung around.
Several people were seen using objects as weapons, including one man who used an American flag pole to strike another person during the scuffle. Police arrested at least one man who was brandishing an “illegal weapon.” It’s unknown what illegal weapon this is in reference to.
It is unclear what preceded this encounter with the two groups and which group the counter-protesters were associated with butt assumed to be Black Lives Matter or Antifa.
“We respect everyone’s right to peacefully assemble,” said Fort Collins Police Services Chief Jeff Swoboda.
“Truly supporting a cause means representing its values. Committing crimes in our community is not a way to support police.
“We stand for safety, period. We want all of our community members to feel safe here in Fort Collins and we reject any form of hate.”
Swoboda called those using the American flag and other objects as cowards and said supporting the police with a t-shirt doesn’t give you a free pass.
“You see some of the images — somebody with an American flag poking at somebody else who’s in a fight with somebody,” said Swoboda. “What kind of cowardly act is that?”
“If there are people out there claiming to support the police but go out there in a manner that’s not consistent with our values — our values of respect and integrity and service — that T-shirt doesn’t buy you the respect of police departments. We don’t want your support if that’s the way you act out there,” Swoboda said.
Following the death of George Floyd in May of this year, hundreds of Black Lives Matter protests have taken place across the U.S. with participants demanding justice for Floyd and others since, as well as an end to police brutality as a whole.