Colorado Springs police arrested two women Saturday who brought the Festival of Lights Parade to a halt during a protest over the police shooting last summer of a 19-year-old black man.
Tyescha Clark and Flannery Burdick stopped the city’s 35th annual holiday parade for about five minutes just before 6:25 p.m. by lying in the middle of Tejon Street south of Colorado Avenue.
Police ordered the women to move, but they refused and had to be physically removed from the road. They were released after being cited for obstructing passage and resistance/interference with a public official.
#ColoradoSprings Festival of Lights parade, protesters for recently murdered #DevonBailey marched, kicked out of parade - pushed into sidewalk. Tensions increased over the next two hours. They chanted “I can’t breathe” in memory of #EricGarner. pic.twitter.com/WA6ityh89u— JoshR (@joshrotunda) December 8, 2019
At the same time as the parade, protesters met in Acacia Park to memorialize De’Von Bailey, who was shot and killed Aug. 3. while fleeing police in Colorado Springs. A grand jury later determined the fatal shooting was justified and declined to bring charges against the two officers, Alan Van’t Land and Blake Evenson.
A Facebook post about the event, Remembering De’Von, hosted by the Empowerment Solidarity Network, encouraged participants to meet at the downtown park at 5:30 p.m. and “bring signs, shirts, or lights to create a living memorial for De’Von.”
Groups of protesters could be seen before and during the Saturday parade, chanting and holding signs as they marched along the sidewalk among the thousands of spectators that lined Tejon Street for the parade.
The previous night, police and code enforcement officers had removed a makeshift memorial to Bailey on the spot where he was killed, along Preuss Road at the edge of Adams Park.
A police spokesman, Lt. James Sokolik, said Friday that the candles, crosses and spray-painted messages on the sidewalk had been removed because of complaints about alcohol and drugs being left there.
The removal of the memorial angered Bailey’s family and friends, who replaced the candles and crosses and again spray-painted messages on the sidewalk.
Bailey was shot four times in the back and arm after he and a cousin were stopped for questioning by two officers investigating a report of an armed robbery in the area.
The officers said they believed Bailey was reaching for a gun as he ran and they fired in self-defense. Body camera video showed Bailey did not have a weapon in his hands when he was shot.
A handgun was found in the pocket of his shorts as he lay on the ground mortally wounded and handcuffed, the video showed. The shooting led to several demonstrations, with family members and protesters claiming Bailey was a victim of police brutality and racism.