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Protesters March In Denver In Support Of Elijah McClain, Against Arrests Of Previous Protesters

DENVER (CBS4) -- Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of downtown Denver Saturday afternoon in support of six activists arrested earlier in the week, on charges related to protests over the summer.

"If you have a loud enough voice, if your speeches arouse a crowd, you're looking at felony charges," said Terrance Roberts, the Co-Founder of the Frontline Party for Revolutionary Action.

Protest pic 1 from Castro
(credit: CBS)

Roberts was one of the six arrested on Thursday, and faces several misdemeanor charges as well as a class five felony for inciting a riot. Out on bond, he spoke to CBS4 at the Capitol Saturday.

"I was doing a jog around Wash Park. When I got to the west side of wash park, like, eight patrol cars surrounding me, they told me I was under arrest. I asked them 'for what?', they told me for inciting a riot," he said.

The charges, filed in Adams County and Arapahoe County court, stem specifically from protests in June and July, calling for justice for Elijah McClain.

Many, including Roberts, were charged in both counties and could face years behind bars if convicted.

Arrests in connection with July 3 protest, Adams County:

Lillian Rose House

Joel Prentice Northam

Whitney Hanna Lucero

Trey Anthony Quinn

Terrance Terrell Roberts

June 27, July 12, July 25 protests, Arapahoe County:

Lillian Rose House

Joel Prentice Northam

John Russel Ruch

Terrance Terrell Roberts

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Three charged for the incident on July 3rd, House, Northam and Lucero, face the highest charges: attempt to commit first-degree kidnapping, a class 3 felony.

The Office of the Adams County District Attorney provided more details about the incident in a press release:

On July 3rd, approximately 600 protesters surrounded the Aurora Police Department's District One Police Station located at 13347 E. Montview Boulevard in what was described by protest organizers on social media as an "occupation." They blockaded streets surrounding District One with vehicles and various items from nearby construction sites. They prevented 18 officers inside from leaving the building by barricading entrances and securing doors with wires, ropes, boards, picnic tables and sandbags. Some members of the group carried handguns and rifles and wore military or tactical clothing. Leaders of the group demanded the firing of two Aurora police officers and said they would "occupy" District One stating that "no one would come in or out" until their demands were met. The officers were imprisoned inside the building for seven hours until they were dispersed by APD's Emergency Response Team at about 3 a.m. on July 4th.

"We support the First Amendment right of people to protest peacefully in our community but there is a difference between a peaceful protests and a riot. When individuals cross the line and break the law, they will be prosecuted," said District Attorney Dave Young.

While Roberts was there, he wasn't charged with attempted kidnapping but says those who were, did nothing wrong.

"There's not one second of footage of us telling anyone to do anything negative or doing anything negative, other than exercising our constitutional rights," he continued,  "and every officer in the police station knows that no one was gonna touch them, they were safe, no one breached a fence."

The charges from the other protests range from obstructing a highway, to engaging in a riot, and conspiracy to commit theft.

Roberts said Saturday two others bonded out, but House, Northam and Lucero were still in custody.

psl protest
(credit: CBS)

Saturday's march was peaceful and included groups from the Party for Socialism and Liberation as well as Black Lives Matter 5280 along with many other activists.

The mother of Elijah McClain, Sheneen, was also present Saturday and stood by her attorney Mari Newman, who voiced support for the protesters.

"We absolutely condemn the politicized retaliatory arrests and charges that are being brought against peaceful non-violent protestors," said Newman.

As the protest made its way down the 16th street mall, some enjoying lunch chanted along with protesters while one restaurant closed its doors to block out the noise.

denver march
(credit: CBS)

The group also stopped in front of the Denver Detention Facility where some of the arrested protesters are being held. Several police officers were seen standing outside of the facility.

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(credit: CBS)

Roberts said despite the charges, he would continue to use his voice to stand up for victims of police brutality.

"We're gonna continue to march even if I go to prison, we're gonna do it from prison because this is what we're supposed to do."

CBS4 reached out to the Aurora Police Department as well as the Arapahoe County District Attorney's Office for a comment, both declined stating it was because the case is ongoing.


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