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Denver Police Pepper-Spray Protesters In Clash On Colfax

DENVER (CBS4) - Denver police pepper-sprayed a small group of protesters on Colfax Avenue on Tuesday in the second night of rallies opposing the grand jury's decision in the Michael Brown case.

A large group gathered on Colfax at Osage Street, east of the Interstate 25 onramp shortly after 8 p.m. Police formed a line to prevent the group from walking onto the Colfax bridge. Police arrested three, the department said, after it ordered the crowd to disperse.

One protester said officers disrupted a peaceful rally.

"It's a police state. I understand we're on the bridge, but it's peaceful. We have this right. We have our liberty still. But this is what we're met with," the protester, who was pepper-sprayed, said.

Denver police said on Twitter it told the crowd to disperse in the interests of public safety.

The protester described the scene: "We're all standing there, putting our hands up. They said, 'Mace, pull out the mace.' (They) maced everybody. Everybody started falling back a bit. Some people helped me out, put some milk (on me). I don't know what's going on. I can't really see anything right now."

Most left peacefully, but a small number remained, police said. Officers then used a limited amount of pepper spray against that group. They did not use tear gas, police said.

Shortly before 10 p.m., protesters moved to Colfax and Broadway where some lay down in the street.

Denver's protests mirrored similar rallies occurring across the country in major cities on Monday and Tuesday night.

Ferguson Protest Colfax 1
(credit: CBS)

On Monday night, protesters in Denver were emotional but largely peaceful, although some lay down in the middle of streets and blocked traffic. Others gathered in Civic Center Park and at Shorter Community AME Church in east Denver. A vigil was scheduled for 6 p.m. on the west steps of the state capitol building on Tuesday.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Denver Police Chief Robert White pleaded repeatedly for peaceful rallies.

Brown, a black teenager, was shot to death by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo., a St. Louis suburb.

On Monday, the prosecutor's office said a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson in Brown's death, sparking massive protests and rioting in Ferguson and in other cities.


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