A peaceful Defend the Police rally hosted Saturday in Eaton by Northern Colorado Young Republicans nearly turned tragic when a red SUV drove through the protest, almost hitting some rally participants.
Despite cloudy skies and warm temperatures, more than 100 people gathered at Benjamin Eaton Memorial Park and Eaton Town Square Park, lining the sidewalks of Collins and Maple streets, waving flags and cheering their support for law enforcement as traffic drove by.
According to rally attendees, about 3:30 p.m. a red SUV drove west up Collins Street, barreled over the curb, cutting across the park grass on the south side. The vehicle drove down into a lower grassy area almost hitting some rally participants before returning to the road.
The suspect left the scene at high speed with Eaton Police officers in pursuit. Officers were able to stop the suspect a short time later and arrest them. According to rally participants, the same suspect made their way east along the street prior to the incident, flipping off the crowd.
Two prior rallies supporting law enforcement in Greeley and Evans took place in June and early July without any incidents.
After collecting witness statements, rally participants turned their attention back to their main goal, which was to show support for law enforcement.
Bob Snidow drove from Carr, a town near the border of Wyoming, to attend the rally.
“I am here to show my support for the police from all over the United States, not just Eaton, not just Ault,” Snidow said. “I want them to know we care and what’s happening to them is wrong.”
As the crowd grew, two Eaton officers walked the perimeter of the park, chatting with rally participants and making sure the event stayed peaceful.
Connie Williams, a 20-year Eaton resident, came out to wave her American flag with red, blue and green lines representing fire and police departments as well as the military.
“We are here today because we believe our democracy is being threatened,” she explained. “And part of being in a small community is that your voice can be heard. The police, fire and military have always been there for us, so we feel we should be there for them.”
Prior to the rally, organizers hosted a food drive to benefit the Guadalupe Center. Bulldog Pub and Grub, 1815 65th Ave. in Greeley, also provided free lunch for the officers working at the station.
The investigation by Eaton Police Department into the incident involving the red SUV is ongoing. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
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