Despite social media messages agitating for protests, the Colorado Springs Police Department is downplaying the possibility of violence here next week as conspiracy theorists nationwide, egged on by President Trump, gear up to oppose the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
Though the FBI has said gatherings are expected in all state capitols, Colorado Springs has seen its share of demonstrations, some attended by armed right-wing factions.
Here's one example of a call to action:
Unitedadf stands for United American Defense Force, a subset of FEC (Faith, Education, Commerce) United, a political activist group that has campaigned against rules to quell the coronavirus. The group is led by Joe Oltmann, who's being sued for defamation by a Dominion Voting Systems employee as a result of his alleged espousing of baseless conspiracy theories — the same conspiracy theories that encouraged the rally and mob violence on Jan. 6.
Now, both FEC United and UADF say they're discouraging violence, according to the Gazette.
Asked what planning is taking place for possible rioting, CSPD Lt. Jim Sokolik said in an email the agency monitors for any potential criminal activity surrounding major events.
But he added, "We are unaware of any illegal actions planned to occur in Colorado Springs."
Even if those actions were expected, he said, "We are unable to discuss any equipment, resources, planning or tactics surrounding how CSPD would respond to potential criminal unrest as it would jeopardize our ability to keep the community and our officers safe."
Likewise, El Paso County Sheriff's Sgt. Deborah Mynatt refused to outline any information about staging, preparation, equipment, and resources that could be used, which she said could "compromise officer safety for our staff as well as the security we provide for the community."
Asked about how any extraordinary deployment would be funded, she said costs would be drawn from the existing budget.
"We will continue to monitor any/all information available to us related to the potential for gatherings at local government buildings," she said in an email. "Specific details would be included to develop a unique deployment plan based on information gathered. We support lawful gatherings and the right of all persons to exercise the rights affording to them under the First Amendment. If persons choose to gather, we ask they do so peacefully and lawfully."
Meantime, Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, based at Peterson Air Force Base, clarified their roles in the inauguration. In response to the Indy's questions, the Public Affairs office said via email: