By Keith Coffman
DENVER (Reuters) - Three members of a police SWAT team were injured as officers broke up an unruly party attended by an estimated 800 people that spilled into the streets near the University of Colorado campus in Boulder over the weekend, authorities said on Sunday.
The violence erupted Saturday night in the neighborhood known as the Hill, adjacent to the university’s flagship campus, as police moved in to disperse the partygoers, who appeared to violate pandemic public health orders limiting crowd sizes and requiring the wearing of face coverings in public space.
Some in the crowd hurled rocks and bottles at the officers, overturned at least one civilian car and damaged a police vehicle and a fire truck, police said at a Sunday news briefing.
Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said three officers suffered minor injuries when they were struck by projectiles.
No one was immediately taken into custody, Herold said, but investigators are reviewing police body-camera footage, as well as surveillance videos and social media posts to identify offenders who engaged in destructive or violent behavior.
"There will be arrests," she said.
At one point about 100 revelers charged toward outnumbered police officers who were forced to retreat to safety, the chief of police said.
Police deployed tear gas to disperse the crowd and regained control of the situation in about three hours, police said.
University officials said in a written statement that any students found to have broken the law face expulsion.
"Any student who is found responsible for having engaged in acts of violence toward law enforcement or other first responders will be removed from CU Boulder and not readmitted,” the statement said.
District Attorney Michael Dougherty said his office will prosecute rioters, and called their actions selfish just as the city is moving toward easing pandemic restrictions.
"Their callous disregard for our community’s safety and well-being is shameful," he said.
(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Editing by Steve Gorman and Diane Craft)