Counterprotesters got involved in a violent confrontation with pro-police supporters at a Back the Blue rally in Fort Collins, Colo. Saturday, which ended with the arrests of three people.
The pro-police attendees said two different groups of counterprotesters — consisting of Black Lives Matter supporters and what appeared to be members of Antifa — joined the event. They also claimed a faction from one of those two groups attacked a veteran who was in a wheelchair, according to The Collegian.
Clips featured on a rally goer’s Instagram account showed an all-out melee of various protesters beating one another, as people screamed and cursed while they looked on.
Another attendee can be heard on the video saying, “Keep punching each other in the face but don’t shoot anybody.”
Ciara Wilson, a local high school student who filmed part of the fight, said there were no police to be found as opposing sides battered one another in the grassy ditch.
“Once they get all the way down the street from the police station, it just goes into an all-out brawl in the middle of a grassy pit,” she told The Collegian. “10 to 15 people just piled up on top of each other. Chokeholds, batons, punched in the face all of it, and there were no police.”
A Black Lives Matter rally had been held at Colorado State University earlier that day. Some of those rallygoers went on to the police station to start a counter-protest.
At first, it seemed to be a peaceful conversation between members of the two groups. Once the second group of anti-racism demonstrators — dressed all in black and thought to be Antifa— showed up, things escalated and turned violent.
Witnesses claimed the agitators dressed seemed to bait the pro-police protesters with verbal taunting.
FCPS Public Relations Manager Kate Kimble sent an email to The Collegian saying the “physical disturbances” near the station ended with three arrests and one citation.
The booking report showed two men and one woman were arrested for disorderly conduct. One of the men was also booked for allegedly possessing an illegal weapon, while another was hit with a resisting arrest charge.
“We respect everyone’s right to peacefully assemble to voice their concerns,’ Kimble added. “For the safety of our community, acts of violence, destruction of property and other unlawful behavior will not be tolerated.”
She said an investigation into the matter is “active and ongoing.”