Video: Broomfield Police arrest five protesters at FlatIron Crossing American Indian flash mob
After a few minutes of dancing and drumming at FlatIron Crossing in Broomfield on Wednesday, police officers told a large group of protesters that they had to stop. A short while later, five were in handcuffs. This is how a planned flash mob became confrontational -- at least according to some with an initiative called Idle No More, advocating for First Nations in Canada. Watch footage from the mall below.
Broomfield Police say that those arrested were causing an obstruction and refused to stop after multiple requests.
Here's blurry footage from the mall.
The first few minutes of the video shows the group chanting and dancing, and then the rest is mostly chaotic as officers stop the protests, telling them that they have to move on. Protesters are heard saying they should probably leave so that they don't risk getting arrested, and officers are heard saying, "Folks, you were asked to exit. Exit now," and, "Don't come back here or you'll be arrested!"
The event was part of an effort to raise awareness about conflicts between First Nations and the Canadian government -- which has led a chief to go on a hunger strike. The group was in Denver at the Canadian Consulate on Monday to protest and deliver a letter to officials in support of the hunger striker up north.
That event remained peaceful, even as the protesters flooded the lobby of the building where the Canadian Consulate is located. And a so-called "flash mob" at the Cherry Creek mall two days earlier also took place without conflict.
In Broomfield, though, things seem to have gotten out of hand.
"Right away, the cops came in and blocked us from dancing," says Tessa McLean, 24, who was born in Canada and is a member of the Ojibwe tribe. "They were escorting people outside the doors, saying we needed to leave and it needed to be over. If people weren't gonna go, there would be arrests. A lot of people were sent outside."
Courtesy of Elizabeth Redwing Sheely Protesters in handcuffs at the mall.
McLean says she waited to make sure people were getting out of the mall okay -- but that it quickly became clear the officers might arrest them. "Some people continued dancing in a smaller circle," she recalls.
"It was just a few minutes," she adds, noting that they started right at 6:30 p.m. and that one of the individuals arrested had a 6:35 p.m. arrest time on her citation. "We had only sang one song."
McLean was not arrested, but five others were, including a teenager.
"We weren't surprised that cops showed up," she says. "I was surprised how much more aggressive they were.... We were just really surprised how vicious they were."
Continue for the account of the Broomfield Police Department.