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6 charged with crimes related to Elijah McClain protests in Aurora

They each face various charges from inciting a riot to theft related to the protests over the summer.

AURORA, Colo — This summer's protests to fight racial injustice in Colorado now include a laundry list of felony charges against several high-profile activists and organizers. District attorneys in Adams and Arapahoe County made the announcement Thursday.

Prosecutors in the 17th and 18th judicial district charged six people in connection with crimes committed during protests calling for justice for the death of Elijah McClain in Aurora on June 27, July 12, and July 25 and July 3.

Some of those protests led to highways being taken over, shots being fired at a car and damage to the Aurora Municipal Center.

RELATED: Aurora Municipal Center left damaged after Elijah McClain protest

RELATED: Two protesters shot by a fellow protester in Aurora as vehicle drives through crowd on I-225

About 600 protesters on July 3 surrounded the  APD District One Police Station located at 13347 E. Montview Boulevard in what was described by protest organizers on social media as an “occupation," prosecutors said.

Two of the six people facing charges in Arapahoe and Adams counties have led a number of the protests this summer. Terrance Roberts is a well-known activist. Lillian House is an organizer for the Denver Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) as are three others being charged, according to PSL’s national organizers. PSL responded to the charges in a Facebook live stream Thursday by calling for a protest at the state Capitol on Saturday.

“People are coming together to defend these organizers,” said organizer Marissa Sanchez. “We are building a mass movement to end this assault and these arrests and to let people know were not going to take this lying down.”

Charges for the group include inciting and participating in a riot, obstructing a highway and attempted kidnapping, among other charges.

The attempted kidnapping charge stems from that July 3 protest in which a large group surrounded an Aurora police station and demanded two more officers involved in Elijah McClain's death be fired, according to arrest affidavit in the case. 

They're accused of blocking streets with vehicles and items from a nearby construction site. They also prevented 18 officers inside from leaving the building by barricading entrances and securing doors with wires, ropes, boards, picnic tables and sandbags, prosecutors said.

RELATED: Protesters surround Aurora Police precinct calling for justice for Elijah McClain

The officers were stuck inside the building for seven hours until they were dispersed by APD’s Emergency Response Team around 3 a.m. on July 4.

Joel Northam, another one of the six being charged, spoke several times to the crowd who blocked entrances to the police station.

"The community you claim to serve and protect, and the family whose son your police brutally murdered demand justice,” said Northam through a speaker on a pickup truck on July 3, referring to the APD officers involved in Elijah McClain’s death. “We will make sure that every single person here tonight does not move from their spot surrounding the precinct until you publicly agree to fire Randy Rodema and Nathan Woodyard!"

PSL said Thursday they'll be fundraising to fight the charges which they see as purely political.

"This attack on the Denver antiracist movement and PSL is a part of a concentrated, national assault on the Black Lives Matter movement, an attack driven directly from the White House, from Governor's mansions and local police chiefs and departments around the country,” said Sanchez.

The other people being charged are Whitney Lucero, Trey Quinn and John Ruch.

Below is a list of charges they each face:

Lillian Rose House, 25

  • Two counts of inciting a riot (Class 5 felony) - Arapahoe County
  • Two counts of conspiracy to commit inciting a riot (Class 6 felony) - Arapahoe County
  • Two counts of theft from a person (Class 5 felony) - Arapahoe County
  • Two counts of conspiracy to commit theft from a person (Class 6 felony) - Arapahoe County
  • Attempt to commit first-degree kidnapping - Adams County
  • Attempt to Influence a public servant -  Adams County 
  • Inciting a riot (Class 5 felony) -  Adams County 
  • Inciting a riot (Class 5 felony) -  Adams County 
  • Engaging in a riot (Class 2 misdemeanor) -  Adams County
  • Obstructing government operations (Class 3 misdemeanor) -  Adams County

Terrance Terrell Roberts, 44

  • One count of engaging in a riot (Class 2 misdemeanor) - Arapahoe County 
  • One count of conspiracy to commit engaging in a riot (Class 3 misdemeanor) - Arapahoe County 
  • One count of obstructing a highway or other passageway (Class 3 misdemeanor) - Arapahoe County 
  • One count of conspiracy to commit obstructing a highway or other passageway (Class 3 misdemeanor) - Arapahoe County 
  • Inciting a Riot (Class 5 felony) -  Adams County 
  • Engaging in a Riot (Class 2 misdemeanor) -  Adams County 
  • Obstructing Government Operations (Class 3 misdemeanor) -  Adams County

Joel Prentice Northam, 32

  • Two counts of inciting a riot (Class 5 felony) - Arapahoe County 
  • Two counts of conspiracy to commit inciting a riot (Class 6 felony) - Arapahoe County 
  • Two counts of theft from a person (Class 5 felony) - Arapahoe County
  • Two counts of conspiracy to commit theft from a person (Class 6 felony) - Arapahoe County 
  • Attempt to Commit First-degree Kidnapping (Class 3 felony) -  Adams County 
  • Inciting a Riot (Class 5 felony) -  Adams County 
  • Inciting a Riot by giving commands (Class 5 felony) -  Adams County 
  • Engaging in a Riot (Class 2 misdemeanor) -  Adams County 
  • Obstructing Government Operations (Class 3 misdemeanor) -  Adams County

John Russel Ruch, 33

  • Two counts of theft from a person (Class 5 felony) - Arapahoe County
  • Two counts of conspiracy to commit theft from a person (Class 6 felony) - Arapahoe County 

Whitney Hannah Lucero

  • Attempt to Commit First-degree Kidnapping (Class 3 felony)  -  Adams County
  • Inciting a Riot (Class 5 felony) -  Adams County
  • Inciting a Riot by giving commands (Class 5 felony) -  Adams County 
  • Engaging in a Riot (Class 2 misdemeanor) -  Adams County 
  • Obstructing Government Operations (Class 3 misdemeanor) -  Adams County

Trey Anthony Quinn 

  • Inciting a Riot (Class 5 felony) -  Adams County
  • Inciting a Riot by giving commands (Class 5 felony) -  Adams County
  • Engaging in a Riot (Class 2 misdemeanor) -  Adams County
  • False Imprisonment (Class 2 misdemeanor) -  Adams County
  • Obstructing Government Operations (Class 3 misdemeanor) -  Adams County

The presumptive sentencing range for each class 5 felony is one to three years in the Colorado Department of Corrections. The presumptive sentencing range for each class 6 felony is 12-18 months.

“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. When individuals cross the line and break the law, they will be prosecuted,” said District Attorney Dave Young.

RELATED: Elijah McClain demonstrators gather in Aurora

The protests were related to the death of August 2019 death of McClain. 

He died a few days after he went into cardiac arrest following a struggle with APD officers, who contacted him after receiving a call of a suspicious person in the area.

McClain’s family said he was walking to get an iced tea for his brother and would usually wear a face mask when it got cold outside.

Officers used a carotid hold when restraining McClain, a practice that has since been banned in the City of Aurora. McClain was also given a sedative by Aurora Fire Rescue to calm him down.

His death gained renewed attention following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minnesota.

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