Colorado lawmaker denounces fliers he said were found at protests; Protest leader questions whether fliers were actually circulated

As protests spurred by the killing of George Floyd continued in Denver over the weekend, a Colorado legislator publicly shared photos of a flyer he said was found outside the state Capitol during the demonstrations that proclaims “it’s time to eliminate” Republicans.

Rep. Dave Williams, a Republican from Colorado Springs, tweeted out photos of the flyer Saturday, writing, “Calling for the murder of Republicans is disgusting.” But one of the most visible participants in Denver’s protests said he’d neither seen nor heard of the flyers, dismissing them as “an attempt to sow discord.”

And the Colorado State Patrol, which polices the Capitol grounds, also had not seen physical copies of the flyer and is not investigating the matter.

Obviously, this is unacceptable to say the least.

Encouraging violence & calling for the murder of Republicans is disgusting.#GeorgeFloyd #copolitics #cogov #coleg

— Rep. Dave Williams (@RepDaveWilliams) June 6, 2020

On Sunday, while attending the legislative session, Williams said in a text to The Denver Post that the flyer was brought to his attention by volunteers cleaning up around the Capitol after recent demonstrations. It has numerous misspellings and inflammatory lines that blame Republicans for enslaving and killing “the brown man” and that “fascist Republicans must not be allowed to live.”

Asked whether the flyer could be an attempt to fuel divisions during the demonstrations, Williams said “it doesn’t matter who passed it around during the protests. It’s disgusting to incite violence and call for the murder of Republicans.”

The Colorado State Patrol was aware that an image of the flyer was circulated on social media, but had not seen any copies distributed on the Capitol grounds and didn’t receive any reports about them, Trooper Joshua Lewis said Sunday. The State Patrol isn’t investigating the flyer, he said.

Williams said he plans to give a copy of the flyer to the State Patrol.

Tay Anderson, a Denver school board member who has been active in the protests, said he hasn’t seen nor heard of such flyers being passed around.

“I need to see the physical copy. I haven’t seen ANYTHING like this being circulated at any rally,” Anderson said in a tweet.

In a call with The Post, Anderson said he believes that the flyers, or at least the photo of them, are an attempt to sow discord. He said the rhetoric isn’t anything that he has heard from any participants in the Denver demonstrations, even “the left of the left.”

“That’s the stuff that hurts African Americans in the long run,” Anderson said. “Any information that is shared like that puts black lives in danger.”

The flyer seen in Williams’ tweet claims endorsement by, among others, the Democratic Party, Colorado sheriffs and the organization Black Lives Matter, which has led demonstrations across the country.

Sunday was 11th day in a row that people gathered in downtown Denver to call for racial justice and police reform in the wake of May 25 killing of Floyd, a black man arrested in Minneapolis who died after a police officer kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Other officers helped restrain him. Floyd’s death, following recent deaths of black people in confrontations with police, has led to large protests nationwide and in other countries.

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