Citywide curfew lifted for Colorado Springs

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - The citywide curfew is now lifted for Colorado Springs following five nights of peaceful demonstrations.

Mayor John Suthers addressing media on Wednesday, June 3, 2020.

Mayor John Suthers announced his decision Monday to allow the curfew to end in a statement thanking protesters for sustaining five nights without violence.

"A tremendous amount of credit belongs to our citizens who have engaged in speech and assembly in Colorado Springs in the highest traditions of social action in America. They have been vocal and passionate about their worthy cause, but respectful of their fellow citizens and public and private property. My sincere gratitude to leaders of the protest who have steered those protesting police brutality away from other groups who do not share their message and their commitment to nonviolent methods."

He also thanked police for their work since Wednesday night.

"I also want to thank the Colorado Springs Police Department, which has worked hard to ensure First Amendment protection of speech and assembly, while also providing for the public health, safety and welfare."

Suthers signed the order the morning of June 3 following four nights of increased tension between law enforcement and the demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd. The curfew went from 10 p.m.-5 a.m. and ended Monday morning.

Describing it as a tale of two protests at the time, Suthers said while the daytime demonstrations have been peaceful and gone very well, when the sun goes down "the tenor and I think the composition of the demonstrators changes."

Suthers said the city had accrued tens of thousands in property damage over the first four nights of protests. The nighttime crowd has also been more aggressive towards officers, Suthers said.

"We've had rocks, bricks, bottles and firecrackers thrown at police officers, not only endangering them but those in the crowd.

Suthers stressed this was a handful of bad actors and thanked the "vast, vast majority" of protesters for remaining peaceful while expressing their First Amendment rights.

Colorado Springs Police Chief Niski had warned of the possibility of a curfew when addressing the media Tuesday afternoon.

"Not in an attempt to stop protests, but as a way to keep our community safe and ensure that the peaceful protesters' message is heard loud and clear and not drowned out by the few who only wish to cause disorder in our city.”

Suthers said the curfew did its job -- but warned he would not hesitate to reinstate a curfew were the protests to escalate again.

"After five days of protests without violence, it’s time to allow the curfew to lapse. However, I will not hesitate to reinstate a curfew if violence and property damage should reoccur and a curfew is necessary to ensure public safety. I would also ask that going forward, groups refrain from attempting to block or impede traffic as that presents situations that can be very dangerous for protesters and the public using our roadways.”