Members of a pro-police”Back the Blue” rally event in Fort Collins, Colorado got into a fight on Saturday with counter-protesters opposing the event.
Videos from the event showed members of the pro-police group walking towards the counter-protesters, telling them to leave and following them away from a neighborhood before the fight started. As the fight broke out, several people could be seen falling or jumping into a ditch, where the brawl took place.
“Back the Blue rally goers push out BLM counter-protesters and then attacked them. Fort Collins, CO,” one Twitter user posted.
Back the Blue rally goers push out BLM counter-protesters and then attacked them. Fort Collins, CO. pic.twitter.com/FbyWRpBUJ5
— Joshua Rodriguez (@Joshuajered) August 9, 2020
During the fighting, an onlooker could be heard telling those involved to keep their hands off any weapons they may have but to “keep punching each other in the face.”
The exact cause of the fighting is not clear, though multiple sources for KDVR News said a counter-protester pepper-sprayed a disabled veteran in the group, setting off the brawl. Fort Collins Police Chief Jeff Swodoba confirmed police had heard those claims as well but could not confirm that it happened.
Swoboda said there were aggressors on both sides of the fighting and enforcement actions were taking place against members of both groups.
It was not clear that counter-protesters had any affiliation with Antifa, though one Twitter user sharing footage of the brawl tweeted, “Another angle of the scuffle that happened yesterday when antifa went into a Colorado neighborhood. I think 3 antifa members were arrested.”
Another angle of the scuffle that happened yesterday when antifa went into a Colorado neighborhood. I think 3 antifa members were arrested. pic.twitter.com/iXWPMCZdeG
— Brittany (@Brittany3l) August 10, 2020
Police could be seen arriving to break up the fight.
In a Sunday press release, the Fort Collins Police Department announced they made three arrests and a criminal citation from criminal tampering during the incident. All three people that were arrested were charged with disorderly conduct. A 25-year-old person arrested was also charged with resisting arrest while a 37-year-old arrested was charged with a class-1 misdemeanor for possession of an illegal weapon.
In a Monday update to their statement, Fort Collins Police said investigations were ongoing and police were working to contact those involved.
Swoboda criticized people engaging in violence while claiming to support the police.
“If there’s a rally, here especially in Fort Collins, and it’s about ‘backing the blue’ or supporting police, we appreciate that, but if you think that showing up with an ‘I support police’ t-shirt and an agenda of violence that that supports us, please know it doesn’t,” Swoboda said. “We don’t want your support. We don’t need your support. You can stay home.”