Citizens had their say Tuesday in the debate over an anti-war protest that ended with police tear gas.
Those involved in the rally went to the city council to talk about what they saw. City council members say this was just one part in the continuing debate. And they say that debate should not be about placing blame, but about understanding.
Ten days after Colorado Springs Police deployed tear gas in Palmer Park, there was a big crowd to address the City Council---a roomful of people wanting to tell their side of the story. "I didn't hear any announcement that we needed to leave or we will be arrested," said one person.
Some protestors wanted to dispute the police version of events. One man is accused of throwing a tear gas canister back at police. "I definitely remember the sting of a rubber bullet on my leg. I also remember the immense pain from the Taser gun in the back of my leg. What I don't remember is ever throwing anything at the police."
Others seemed driven by the emotion of that day. "Not one of those 40 policemen shouted over to my mom, 'Don't go up that direction. They are going to be tear gassing there, you might get hurt.'"
But council members hope all this leads to a dialogue. "I think there will be a process that will go on between the police and the organizers and then we're hoping for a report back from them," said Council member Margaret Radford. That report could lead to changes "I think it might well result in new policies for the police as well as new policies toward the permits granted to these sorts of protest events."
The City Council is expecting a progress report on the talks in about two weeks.