DENVER – Six people who protested in Aurora this summer have been charged with felonies and other counts related to four separate protests, prosecutors announced Thursday.
The six people include some of the leaders of the protests, which happened June 27, July 3, July 12 and July 25. Among the charges for the six are counts of attempted kidnapping, inciting a riot and theft, according to news releases from the 17th and 18th Judicial Districts issued Thursday afternoon.
The people charged are Lillian House, Joel Northam, John Ruch, Terrance Roberts, Whitney Lucero and Trey Quinn, according to the releases. House and Northam are part of the Party of Socialism and Liberation, which has organized and been involved with many of the demonstrations in Denver and Aurora this summer.
But neither district attorney’s office released affidavits for the six people’s arrests, so the exact details of what allegedly transpired that led to the charges were mostly unclear Thursday afternoon, though each office released minor details in their news releases.
The release from the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said it is prosecuting five people from the July 3 demonstration at an Aurora Police Department precinct, when protesters surrounded the building for several hours.
The release says the protesters kept 18 officers from leaving the building by blocking entrances and doors with objects and blocking off nearby streets. It says House, Northam and Lucero are charged with attempted first-degree kidnapping because they allegedly “attempted to imprison or forcibly secrete 18 officers with the intent to force them or another person to make a concession to secure their release.”
That night’s protest involved demands that the officers involved in Elijah McClain’s 2019 death be fired immediately. They were not, and Aurora police broke up the protest around 3 a.m. the next morning.
“We support the First Amendment right of people to protest peacefully in our community but there is a difference between a peaceful protest and a riot,” said 17th Judicial District Attorney Dave Young (D) in a statement. “When individuals cross the line and break the law, they will be prosecuted.”
The release from 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler’s (R) office does not specify which alleged crimes were committed on which days, but they involve protests in Aurora that happened June 27, July 12 and July 25.
Some of the charges the four people – House, Northam, Ruch and Roberts – charged in that district face include inciting a riot and felony theft for allegedly stealing a sign from two people.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation in a Facebook post Thursday evening said some of those arrested were “lead organizers” of the protests and called their arrests “part of a concerted national assault on the Black Lives Matter movement” while pledging to fight the charges.
“They are still in jail, with the exception of one person,” the group said in the post. “They are facing multiple felony charges and years in prison in an obvious frame-up aimed at stopping the movement for justice for Elijah McClain.”