PROTEST TURNS VIOLENT IN TELLER COUNTY

Teller County, CO, July 20, 2020– On Friday July 17, 2020 the Teller County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) released information to the public concerning a “car rally” protest that would occur at our Detention Facility that day. The protest was apparently organized by a relative of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) inmate who is detained at the facility and it was advertised to be against Teller County’s agreement to house ICE inmates.

TCSO learned that the protesters were planning to possibly shut down a public roadway. This could be very dangerous to the innocent motoring public on such a busy weekend-traffic day along US Highway 24. It has been and will continue to be a practice of TCSO to let our community know about such events that may affect their travel plans and safety. A press release put out prior to the protest included information about the enforcement action TCSO would take if “blocking of roadways and/or throwing any objects” occurred and also the address of the detentions facility so the protesters could find it.

In an effort to keep the protesters and the community safe, TCSO cordoned off an area right in front of the detention facility for the protesters to occupy.

In spite of our efforts to provide a large, safe area for people to exercise their First Amendment right, we and some in the community observed people wearing “Black Lives Matter” t-shirts, people shouting “Black Lives Matter” and signs on vehicles and being held that said “Defund the Police” and “BLM.” These individuals were part of the “car rally” and were intermingled with the protesters who came to demand the release of all ICE detainees. It is known that at least two organizations were involved: “Abolish ICE Denver” and “Colorado Springs Socialists.”

At one point, a disturbance began in an area away from the protest area at the detentions facility. As soon as that information was known to TCSO, multiple personnel assigned to protect the protest area were pulled from that assignment and responded to the disturbance immediately, arriving within seconds. After numerous uniformed and clearly marked TCSO personnel and vehicles were on the scene of this disturbance, there was at least one complaint of an assault that had just occurred. The individuals from several cars in the “car rally” exited their vehicles while blocking a roadway yelling and screaming. The individuals who came in this “car rally” refused to clear the roadway and/or proceed to a safe area to make a report of any assault or other crime. TCSO communicated this information directly to the group’s “law enforcement liaison” on the scene. No person went to the safe area to make a report, and has not since contacted TCSO as a victim wanting to press charges.

However, after viewing video of the incident from multiple sources including video taken by TCSO, we have opened an investigation into what happened during the incident. If appropriate, criminal charges will be brought to the local district attorney for consideration of prosecution, and if so, arrest warrants will be issued.

It should be noted that only four people came into the protest area. They remained for about 45 minutes, and then peacefully left on their own.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Commander Greg Couch - PIO at 719-472-4347 or email at couchg@co.teller.co.us.

Follow @TCSOPIO for updates.

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