Crowd gathers at Colorado Capitol to demand DA’s drop charges against protest leaders

When prosecutors in Arapahoe and Adams counties announced the arrest of six leaders of Colorado’s police protest movement, another protest — this time contesting the charges — was organized within hours.

On Saturday, more than 300 people gathered at the Colorado State Capitol to demand the district attorneys to drop charges against the six: Lillian House, Joel Northam, Terrance Roberts, Whitney Lucero, Trey Quinn and John Ruch. All face multiple felony charges, including kidnapping, burglary and inciting riots, in connection with demonstrations held in Aurora on June 27, July 3, July 12 and July 25.

The charges were brought by 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler and 17th Judicial District Attorney Dave Young; Aurora is two counties, which is why both district attorneys were involved.

House and Northam were organizers for the Party for Socialism and Liberation, which has led massive demonstrations in Aurora and Denver since protests erupted after George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police over Memorial Day weekend. Roberts is a well-known activist in Denver and Aurora and is co-founder of the Front Line Party for Revolutionary Action. Their protests often focused on the death of Elijah McClain after a violent encounter with Aurora police and called for the arrest and termination of those officers.

At Saturday’s rally, community activists and those close to the arrested protesters addressed the crowd with the issues that have been hot topics this summer.

Lillian House, leader of Party for Socialism and Liberalism said, “We won’t be intimidated. This is so much bigger than me and so much bigger than any sentence you can give us.”

During their demonstrations, people have occupied an Aurora Police Department substation for hours and have marched down Interstate 225, closing the highway to traffic. Some charges stem from a July 25 protest where thousands marched on I-225 that involved a Jeep running through people and one man firing shots at the Jeep but instead wounding people on foot. The kidnapping charge is based on the occupation of the Aurora police substation where 18 officers remained inside as doors were barricaded by protesters.

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