The 18th District Prosecutor’s Office on Sunday withdrew the most serious charges against three protesters charged with guilty of crimes while leading demonstrations against police brutality in Aurora last summer.
Prosecutors moved to dismiss the crime charges against the Lillian House of the Socialism and Liberation Party and Joel Northam, demanding all but one criminal charge against protester Terrance Roberts be dismissed, the prosecution confirmed in a statement on Monday.
The three defendants were among six protest organizers arrested for the death of Elijah McClain after leading demonstrations in Aurora in June and July. The six leaders were charged with crimes in Adams and Arapahoe counties ranging from attempted kidnapping to theft.
Eighteenth District Attorney John Kellner’s decision to drop Arapahoe County’s heaviest charges continues a trend seen as cases progressed in court. In Adams County last month, a judge charged House, Northam and a third protester with attempted kidnapping and found no likely reason to support the allegation.
“I believe John Kellner’s office examined the charges very carefully and found that many of the charges his predecessor filed were grossly cluttered,” said Amelia Power, House’s attorney. “I think it’s a step in the right direction, but ultimately I still believe that all of this prosecution is political.”
House expects her charges to be reduced to four misdemeanors and minor offenses: tampering, minor theft and two cases of blocking a freeway, Powers said. House was originally charged on 19 counts in Arapahoe County, including eight offenses.
In Northam’s case, prosecutors have asked the 19 charges he faced to be reduced to seven misdemeanors and minor offenses, including tampering, theft, harassment and obstruction of a freeway.
In Roberts’ case, he is expected to face one offense that would block a highway, rather than eight offenses.
In a motion for dismissal in one case, Kellner’s office wrote that “continued prosecution would not serve the interests of justice.” In a statement Monday, a spokeswoman for the bureau said the changes were requested “after careful consideration of the investigation and available evidence”.
The charges were filed in September by then District Attorney George Brauchler; Kellner took up his post in January.
Both Northam and House continue to face criminal charges in Adams County.