Sunday, August 9, 2020 6:49 PM EST
By The Associated Press, AP
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) — Three people were arrested and another cited after fights broke out at a Colorado pro-police rally that attracted counter protesters, authorities said.
The “Back the Blue” rally drew hundreds of people outside the Fort Collins police department Saturday afternoon. After counter-protesters arrived, multiple fights broke out, police said.
Neither side was singled out for blame and police said both had active aggressors.
“Truly supporting a cause means representing its values. Committing crimes in our community is not a way to support police,” Fort Collins Police Chief Jeff Swoboda said. “We stand for safety, period.”
Video footage of the conflict showed members of the pro-law enforcement crowd walking toward counter protesters who are backing away in a residential neighborhood a few blocks from the rally.
The pro-police demonstrators outnumbered the counter-protesters, and fights broke out as the two sides moved into a grassy area between houses , video footage shows. It was not clear how the fights began, but the recordings show about a dozen people wrestling and fighting in a ditch.
A person in a red shirt is shown using an American flag mounted on a pole to spear and pin to the ground a person dressed all in black. One man swings what looks to be a baton, striking at another man. The footage shows police arrive within minutes and detain at least two people.
The people arrested and cited were aligned with both sides. Three people were arrested for disorderly conduct, including one who faces an additional charge of illegally possessing a weapon and a second person who faces a charge of resisting arrest. A fourth person was cited for criminal tampering.
An investigation into the fights is still ongoing, because some people who were involved in the melees left the scene before officers arrived, Detective Erin Feit told The Denver Post. Witnesses who have video or other information on what happened were asked to contact the police.