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//Terrence Roberts, one protester who has been charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors, addresses protesters on Sept. 19. Photo by Kieran Purce | purce.kieran1@gmail.com

Editor’s note: The original story with more information about the charges and arrests of the six protesters can be found here

Hundreds of people gathered at the Capitol steps in the early afternoon of Sept. 19 to protest the arrests made against six local activists who are facing felony charges for protesting against police violence this summer. 

Lillian House, Joel Northam, John Ruch, Terrance Roberts, Whitney Lucero, and Trey Quinn all face felony and misdemeanor charges for protesting the police killing of Elijah McClain. Protestors argue these charges are a blatant intimidation tactic by the Denver Police Department to slow down the progress of Denver’s anti-racist movement.

In a last-minute mobilization, the Party for Socialism and Liberation organized the event which drew a crowd of roughly three hundred supporters to the Capitol building. Organizers for PSL, the mother of Joel Northam, local abolitionist Elisabeth Epps, and one of the arrested protestors, Terrance Roberts addressed the impassioned crowd. 

“How is it that people protesting the murder of Elijah McClain are arrested but the killer cops that killed Elijah McClain are at home in their beds with their money and still being paid,” said longtime community organizer Lindsay Minter.

The ACLU of Colorado also took issue with the charges of the protesters. In a statement issued on Sept. 18, the organization recognized that it has been more than a year since McClain was killed and yet no charges have been filed against those involved in his death. 

“This kind of overcharging of protesters is troubling because it only serves to inflame tensions further and deter peaceful demonstrations. Imagine if police and district attorneys put as much effort into protecting Black and Brown lives as they do into working up criminal cases against organizers working to end police violence — we might begin to see a new day in Aurora and a renewed trust in our legal system,” said ACLU of Colorado Public Policy Director, Denise Maes in a press release.

Sheneen McClain, mother of Elijah McClain, was present. She stood in silence outside the Capitol with her fist in the air. McClain continues to withhold public comments until the officers involved in her son’s death are charged. 

Protestors marched from the Capitol to the Denver City Jail, chanting for the release of political prisoners and demanding police drop all charges. Making their way to the Denver City Jail on Colfax Ave, hundreds of protestors cheered loudly outside the detention center in support of the activists still detained. Lillian House and Joel Northam, organizers for the Denver PSL chapter remain imprisoned.

Police in riot gear watched demonstrators from behind a fence outside the Denver Detention Center as protestors marched around the justice center. Organizers for the PSL and supporters continued to rally outside the detention center. Terrance Roberts, one of the activists arrested Thursday on riot charges, addressed the crowd outside of the jail he was inside less than 48 hours prior. “I don’t care about a building. I care about justice for Elijah McClain. The message has not changed. We want the police charged,” Roberts said.

The Party for Socialism and Liberation ended the event by encouraging people to join the party and to return to the Capitol steps next Saturday at noon to continue protesting for the release of all political prisoners.