Multiple officers were assaulted and injured during a massive block party that turned into a riot near the University of Colorado Boulder on Saturday as somewhere between 500 and 1,000 students gathered to protest COVID restrictions.
In a neighborhood just west of the campus, student protesters gathered in a proclaimed “revolution” against the pandemic lockdown that is allegedly interfering with their partying. In defiance of mandates, masks were not worn.
Just after 10 p.m. Saturday evening, the university tweeted out a statement that they were aware of the massive gathering and warned the students that anyone caught in the area by police or on video would be subject to arrest and/or school sanctions.
SWAT was called in as things reportedly turned violent with cars being turned over and trashed, according to 9News in Denver. Glass and wreckage were all over the place and there were actual fireworks at the gathering. At least three officers were reportedly injured by projectiles during the melee. Sirens and tear gas were used to quell the riot.
(Video Credit: Denver7)
“We are aware of a large party on University Hill on Saturday evening and allegations of violence toward police officers responding to the scene,” the university reported.
“We condemn this conduct. It is unacceptable and irresponsible, particularly in light of the volume of training, communication, and enforcement the campus and city have dedicated to ensuring compliance with COVID-19 public health orders,” the school stated. “CU Boulder will not tolerate any of our students engaging in acts of violence or damaging property.”
More footage from the massive block party in #Boulder earlier today. #CUBoulder says students who attended could face sanctions, and those found guilty of assaulting law enforcement officers will be expelled. #COVID19 @KyleClark pic.twitter.com/PRciJz2qzC
— Eric Wasserman 🦆 "WASS" (@EricWasserman1) March 7, 2021
CU Boulder’s Office of the Chancellor issued a letter stating: “To the students who participated in the incident last night: you have embarrassed yourselves and the entire University of Colorado Boulder. Your actions violated university and community standards at every level. A basic condition for being part of CU Boulder is accountability to each other and to the community at all times.”
At approximately 8 p.m. the police showed up to respond to the party. By 9:20 p.m. the crowd had reportedly dispersed. “Detectives will review every lead we have to identify and arrest those responsible for this reprehensible and unacceptable behavior,” declared Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold.
— Western College Football Talk (@WesternCFBTalk) March 7, 2021
The officers who were injured were reportedly hit with bricks or rocks. They are expected to recover from their injuries. An armored vehicle and a firetruck were also damaged in the riot.
Officers did not arrest anyone at the time of the riot, stating that there were just too many to deal with. However, they will be reviewing their body camera footage as they prepare to go after those involved in the chaos and they will scour social media for evidence. Chief Herold said that she thought it “would not be considered best practices to send officers” into the crowd of people in a press release.
Headlines from that #Boulder news conference:
– There have been no arrests after last night’s violence and property damage
– Anyone who was in the area is asked to quarantine
– Police estimate there were 500-800 people in the crowd officers had to disperse
— Steve Staeger (@SteveStaeger) March 7, 2021
CBS Denver spoke with an unidentified man who told them that the riot was bound to happen. “When we’re all caged up for months there’s going to be an explosion, and this was the explosion,” the man declared.
The 12th Judicial District Attorney’s Office is promising to go after students involved in the riot. “The District Attorney’s Office will work closely with the Boulder Police Department to determine the identities of the people who damaged private property and assaulted first responders because they should be held fully responsible for their outrageous actions,” District Attorney Michael Dougherty stated.
— Mitchell Byars (@mitchellbyars) March 7, 2021
The riot came a day after Colorado Gov. Jared Polis extended Colorado’s COVID mask mandate. The directive has been in place since July of 2020.
Those who attended the block party are being urged to quarantine for 10 days, monitor symptoms for up to 14 days, and get free testing 7 days after exposure.
— Shay Castle (@shayshinecastle) March 7, 2021
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