Colorado State troopers removing students from House Gallery during protest at the Capitol Building
Colorado State Patrol on Thursday released body camera videos of young people who were removed from the House gallery on Wednesday, while lawmakers on the House floor were debating bills.
Video from the Colorado Channel of the day's proceedings show what happened prior to that incident, in which young people, believed to be school students, started shouting and disrupting the House proceedings.
Rep. David Ortiz, D-Centennial, told the students to respect the decorum of the House, advice that they appeared to ignore as they began to shout again a few minutes later. Ortiz gaveled the House into a recess while the State Patrol and House sergeants-at-arms dealt with the situation.
Three young people were removed from the House gallery — one for causing the disruption and the other two for interfering with the State Patrol as they attempted to remove the young woman.
A video posted on Twitter initially claimed they were arrested, but was later corrected to say they had just been told to leave the building. The video showed only the last two minutes of the incident but was widely shared on social media.
On Wednesday, high school students from the metro area came to the Capitol by the hundreds to protest gun violence. Dozens staged a "die-in" in front of the office of Gov. Jared Polis.
The governor spoke briefly to the students, as did lawmakers from the House and Senate and from both sides of the aisle.
In a statement on Wednesday, House Speaker Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon, said, "Students are demanding we act to prevent gun violence, but they shouldn't have to come to the Capitol to protest for their lives. That is the reality they confront as young people in Colorado continue to face gun violence in their schools and in their communities."
McCluskie said she is concerned with the response to the protest in the House gallery.
"From what we have seen, it was clearly disproportionate to the students' actions. We are calling for an investigation into the response and will take the necessary steps to prevent this from happening again, including review of the responsibilities, protocols and training for our sergeants at arms," she said.
House Majority Leader Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge, added: "Our children are scared of being shot in their classrooms. They are sick and tired of gun violence plaguing their communities. They came to the Capitol today, as they have been for weeks, to ask what we're doing about it."
Duran said she was "very disappointed by how they were treated, specifically that a young Latino student was dragged out of the chamber with a level of force that felt unnecessary and disproportionate compared to the treatment of his peers. I have a lot of questions about how and why this happened - and I intend to address those concerns with the state patrol as we work to repair the harm perpetuated to this student and his peers."
McCluskie and Duran saw the State Patrol footage before making the statement, according to a spokesman.