By Jennifer McRae

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– The Adams County District Attorney has dismissed all remaining charges against five people from the July 3, 2020 protest in Aurora. Felony and misdemeanor charges will be dropped against Lillian House, Joel Northam, Whitney Lucero, Terrance Roberts, and Trey Quinn for the protest outside the Aurora Police District 1 Station.

Elijah McClain Rally aurora protest

(credit: CBS)

During the protest, a large crowd surrounded the police station and over the course of the protest, the doors of the police station were tied shut and the police officers inside were obstructed from leaving. Following the protest, House, Northam, Lucero, Roberts, and Quinn were formally charged by the previous 17th Judicial District Attorney.

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The charges were as follows:

House: Felony Attempted 1st Degree Kidnapping, Felony Attempt to Influence a Public Servant, Felony Inciting a Riot (2), Misdemeanor Engaging in a Riot, and Misdemeanor Obstructing Government Operations

Northam: Felony Attempted 1st Degree Kidnapping, Felony Inciting a Riot (2), Misdemeanor Engaging in a Riot, Misdemeanor Obstructing Government Operations

Lucero: Felony Attempted 1st Degree Kidnapping, Felony Inciting a Riot (2), Misdemeanor Engaging in a Riot, Misdemeanor Obstructing Government Operations
Roberts: Felony Inciting a Riot, Misdemeanor Engaging in a Riot, Misdemeanor Obstructing Government Operations

Quinn: Felony Inciting a Riot (2), Misdemeanor Engaging in a Riot, Misdemeanor False Imprisonment, Misdemeanor Obstructing Government Operations

The felony attempted first-degree kidnapping charges against House, Northam, and Lucero were dismissed by an Adams County Judge in March.

aurora protest

(credit: CBS)

Adams County District Attorney Brian Mason took office in January. He decided to drop the remaining felony and misdemeanor charges.

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He released this statement, “After a thorough review of these cases, I have decided to dismiss the charges against these five individuals. I have an ethical obligation to only proceed on charges my office can prove and to dismiss charges that we cannot prove. My job is to do the right thing. After considerable thought and reflection, I believe dismissing these charges is the right thing to do.

I believe in the First Amendment, the right to peaceably assemble and the right to peaceably protest. I also believe in the rule of law. These should not be in conflict with one another. Indeed, they should go hand in hand.”

“On the night of July 3, 2020, significant lines were crossed during the protest at Aurora’s District One Police Station. It is not peaceful protest to tie the doors of a police station and prevent police officers from responding to calls for service. Doing so is against the law, puts our community at risk, and undermines the principles of the First Amendment. I am gratified that the five individuals, whose cases I dismiss today, say they agree with these sentiments.

I grew up in Aurora and care deeply about this city. The Aurora community has gone through a lot and is deeply in need of healing. I hope that today’s decision will promote this; and that, together, we can seek peaceful and effective ways to address the significant issues of our day.”

Roberts is a former gang member who spent 10 years behind bars. He later led an anti-gang organization to keep kids out of trouble. Now, his focus is social justice.

He released this statement through his attorney, “Free speech is an indispensable right guaranteed by our U.S. Constitution. The right to organize and protest is the foundation of liberty and a central tool for calling out injustice. For more than a decade-and-a-half, Terrance Roberts has organized and lead his community under principles of non-violent protest, inspired by the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and other leaders.

It is Mr. Roberts’ understanding that on or about July 3rd and 4th, 2020, individuals in attendance at a peaceful protest he helped organize, crossed lines. Mr. Roberts wants to be clear— he does not endorse tying doors to police stations so that officers are unable-to respond to calls for service. Not only is this illegal, but it is counterproductive to the causes for which he organizes. Mr. Roberts did not call for such actions and does not support them.

Terrance Roberts does not promote nor approve of violence as a means of protest. Like the many activists and civil rights leaders who came before him, Terrance Roberts, believes in non-violent protest as the best way to arouse community consciousness and effect change. In the struggle of a lifetime, we cannot be afraid to raise our voices to be heard, but we must not resort to violence to get our point across. As Dr. King said, “our end is a community at peace with itself.”

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Two others continue to face charges in relation to the July 3, 2020 protest as a result of evidence presented in the case. Daxx Dalton faces charges of false imprisonment, engaging in a riot, obstructing government operations, all misdemeanors. Cameron Frazier faces charges of felony possession of a dangerous weapon and felony possession of a weapon by a previous offender.

Jennifer McRae