Denver Rioters Arrested
The ANSWER Coalition cited "several lead organizers" who were arrested for rioting in Colorado in a mass email on Sept 21, 2020:
- "Law enforcement units arrested several lead organizers of the mass anti-racist protest movement that has been on the streets demanding justice for Elijah McClain and other victims of police brutality. That morning, Russell Ruch was arrested while in a parking lot at a Home Depot. An hour later, five police cars surrounded and arrested Lillian House while she was driving. S.W.A.T. teams arrived at Joel Northam’s home and arrested him. Eliza Lucero, another committed organizer in the Elijah McClain struggle, was arrested in this operation. Those four are members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation. Terrance Roberts of the Frontline Party for Revolutionary Action was also arrested. Multiple other people have also been arrested in the recent period in Colorado Springs, Denver, and throughout the state. House, Northam and Lucero are still in jail as we publish this appeal."
People gathered at the Colorado state Capitol in Denver September 2020 to protest the filing of felony charges against several leaders of racial justice demonstrations.
Six protesters, including organizers of demonstrations over the killing of Black 23-year-old Elijah McClain in Aurora, could face years in prison over what critics say are trumped-up charges representing an attack on the Black Lives Matter movement.
Among the charges filed against some of the defendants Thursday are theft, for allegedly taking signs from counter-protesters, and attempted first-degree kidnapping, for involvement in a July 3 protest in which a crowd of 600 surrounded an Aurora police precinct with 18 officers inside, blocking doors with ropes, boards, picnic tables and sandbags for seven hours. The protesters demanded that two officers involved in McClain's arrest be fired and charged.
All of the protesters — Lillian House, Joel Northam, Terrance Roberts, Whitney Lucero, Trey Quinn and John Ruch — face felonies brought by prosecutors in the 17th and 18th judicial districts, which cover Adams and Arapahoe counties, The Denver Post reported. The charges are connected to demonstrations held in Aurora on June 27, July 3, July 12 and July 25.
House and Northam were organizers for the Party for Socialism and Liberation, while Roberts is a well-known activist in Denver and Aurora and is co-founder of the Front Line Party for Revolutionary Action.
“Those arrested were movement leaders demanding justice for Elijah McClain, who was brutally murdered by the Aurora PD,” the Party for Socialism and Liberation tweeted Saturday. “They are facing heavy felony charges - an obvious frame-up aimed at stopping the movement. IT WON’T WORK.”
Both district attorneys declined requests for interviews, the newspaper reported. Dave Young, the district attorney in the 17th District, said in a news release said House, Northam and Lucero face attempted kidnapping charges because they “unlawfully and feloniously attempted to imprison or forcibly secrete 18 officers with the intent to force them or another person to make a concession to secure their release.”
“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,” Young said in a news release. “When individuals cross the line and break the law, they will be prosecuted.”
Arrest affidavits more than 30 pages long said investigators used recordings of livestreams, a transcript of a call between House and Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson, and social media posts by protesters to build a case against those arrested.
Combined, the six protesters face 33 felony counts and 34 misdemeanor charges. Each faces years in prison if convicted.
Cancel Rent Protest Organizer
Russell Ruch was listed as an organizer of a Cancel Rent protest on April 25 2020.
- ""If you can’t work, you can’t pay your rent," said Sage Gilbert, one of the protesters. "I am without a job, my friend is on unemployment, I’ve had to move back in with my parents."
- "The fact of the matter is if we can’t work we can’t pay rent," said Russell Ruch, one of the organizers of the Cancel Rent protest. "A lot of people are faced with a Catch-22 situation. Should I prioritize my health and safety or should I go to work and risk getting sick just so I can afford a roof over my head."
- The demonstrators were asking state leaders to cancel rent, use vacant apartments to house the homeless, and release ICE detainees because of COVID-19 fears.
- "We’re out here having a peaceful car rally," said Bruno Tapia, another organizer. "We’re all draining our savings pretty much. We’re all just trying to survive whatever way we can."