LOVELAND — Organizers of a Loveland rally last week opposing Goveror Polis’ numeorus COVID-related mandates are taking exception to a video posted to TikTok by one of the leaders of the Colorado Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, saying it is full of lies and only trying to create more divisiveness in the Northern Colorado area.
Prior to Saturday when BLM and Back the Blue supporters clashed in Fort Collins, Northern Colorado Communities had pretty much gone unscathed. However, in less than a week, Julius Philpot, a CSU graduate and Loveland resident as well as one of the organizers of many of the BLM protests across Colorado has been at the center of two rallies (including the one in Fort Collins), in which confrontation appears to be the goal, some say.
Julie Formby, the organizer of Keep Colorado Free and Open, believes Philpot is trying to instigate trouble in Northern Colorado, where the BLM movement has been for the most part peaceful.
In July, an Eaton man drove his car through a crowd of Back the Blue rally goers, nearly hitting several children. But other rallies in Greeley, Evans, Loveland and Milliken have all gone without incident, including a former police officer taking the time in Eaton to have a conversation with young BLM protestors there.
Formby said Philpot is only making the division worse by instigating much of the tension where it would not otherwise exist, starting with her event that was not connected to either Back the Blue or Black Lives Matter in any way.
“Inventing false narratives, never leads to peace,” Formby said, referring to a TikTok video posted by Philpot the night of her rally. In the video, Philpot claims people at the rally “almost pulled a gun on (him),” “was followed everywhere,” “was surrounded by people with weapons,” and when he tried to move spots “they kept following (him),”
The video taken by Philpot shows the exact opposite, Formby said.
“We knew they were planning to come to let their voices be heard to Sheriff Smith because they expressed that in their counter protest event called ‘Crash the Party,’” Formby said.
The event, which was organized by the Facebook Group Keep Colorado Free and Open, featured several guest speakers, as well as passionate residents, who spoke about everything from direct defiance and lawsuits to recruiting candidates for office and recalls.
Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith was originally slated to the be the keynote speaker but canceled the day before after learning of Philpot’s plan to counter protest.
Smith told Complete Colorado he chose to back out of the gathering for several reasons, including concern there may be counter protestors, questions that he was sent that went beyond the public health orders that he thought he’d be speaking to — such as how much force a person can use during a protest and deputizing citizens, and his desire to not cause confrontation.
“It is not wise for me to go and bring this all on,” Smith said previously. “I’m trying to protect their right to speak but keep from more confrontation.”
Despite Formby reaching out to Philpot prior to the event to let him know this wasn’t a pro-police rally as well as inviting him to the event, on his event page and in his video Philpot continued to make the event about pro-police and guns, and insinuate that rally-goers hated him simply because he was black.
In the little more than one-minute video, Philpot claims he was followed within seconds by people who were open carrying guns just to let him know they were armed. However, his own video shows a crowd of people seemingly paying no attention to Philpot as he walks around the park, approaching people of his own free will. Additionally, still photos taken that night show Philpot taking photos and video of the crowd while the people around him pay no attention.
“All because I didn’t fit the description,” he puts in subtitles on his video. “I went to the Back the Blue just to make them feel uncomfortable when I make my presence known that Black Lives Matter.”
“I welcomed them to come participate in a peaceful manner,” Formby said. “Things got a little crazy after that — a lot of what I perceived to be statements meant to goad and incite a reaction. I responded to some of their prompts and ignored others because they seemed to just want to nitpick, twist words and impugn motives, while refusing to listen to clarifications or explanations.”
Complete Colorado reached out to Philpot to talk about the event and his video; however, he did not return requests and the video was taken off Facebook shortly after the request for interview. It was still on TikTok as of this publication.
Complete Colorado also videotaped the entire rally, including the crowd on occasion. A reporter from Complete Colorado never saw any disruption at any time. Those videos can be found here:
Formby said Philpot asked to meet with her personally to talk, but she declined after he refused to change his publicity from a false narrative to fact.
“I didn’t see the point,” Formby said. “His initial premise was wrong; our event was not a police rally. After that first inciteful misrepresentation, his video deteriorated from there. You can never trust what you see or what is said. You have to do your research and verify the facts yourself.”