The steps of the Colorado State Capitol building, where thousands gathered this summer to protest police violence, were empty Tuesday night, save for four or five people who sat silently outside the fenced-in building. One man had a radio turned up, blasting news coverage of the election out into the night.
The 16th Street Mall, too, was all but deserted. Nearly all shops were boarded up with plywood ahead of the election amid fears of civil unrest, vandalism or looting. But there were no signs of trouble, demonstrations or rioting after polls closed Tuesday night.
The city’s Joint Information Center said there had been no election-related violence or problems reported by 10 p.m.
Last week, Murphy Robinson, executive director of Denver’s Department of Public Safety, said he was more worried about violence in the days following election night, rather than on Tuesday night itself.
Tensions were higher than usual across the country heading into the presidential election, as voters went to the polls against a backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the civil unrest that erupted this summer over police violence and racism.
Denver city officials in recent days warned of potential civil unrest around the election, and for the first time this year police activated a command post Tuesday to monitor the city as polls closed.
Some shops in downtown Denver boarded up their windows with plywood after the city urged them to take “precautions” to protect their businesses from potential “social unrest” following the election.
Many of those shops saw their windows broken or their merchandise looted during the unrest that followed George Floyd’s death earlier this year, owners said Sunday. Several demonstrations in and around Denver this summer also saw violence, with shootings and people hit by cars.
On Oct. 10, an unlicensed security guard shot and killed a pro-police demonstrator after a “Patriot Rally” in downtown Denver. The guard, Matthew Dolloff, 30, was charged with second-degree murder and was released on a $500,000 bond on Tuesday.
Derek Friedman, who owns two Sportsfan stores on the 16th Street Mall that sell Broncos gear, boarded up both shops, and plans to keep the plywood up for at least a week. But said that he was hoping there would not be major disruptions.
“The hope is that while we might differ on red and blue, we don’t differ on orange and navy,” he said.