Judge dismisses charges against 5 protesters for sit-in at Gardner’s office

DENVER — A judge on Tuesday morning dismissed charges against five protesters who were accused of trespassing in Sen. Cory Gardner’s Denver office.

The demonstrators, who were part of the Democratic Socialists of America, staged a  sit-in last month to protest the Republican’s vote to repeal and  replace the Affordable Care Act.

Gardner requested the charges be dropped and the Denver District Attorney’s Office followed through with the request at a hearing Tuesday morning.

“This dismissal of charges today sets a precedent that the constitution of the United States guarantees the right to protest inside your senator’s office,” Alan Kennedy Shaffer, an attorney representing the defendants, said.

The protesters occupied Gardner’s office at 1125 17th St. and said they wouldn’t leave until they got to talk with the senator about health care.

They were demanding he vote against the Republican plan to ditch the Affordable Care Act. Gardner voted with fellow Republicans, but the bill ultimately failed.

“I’m relieved that the charges have been dismissed,” Jeremy Wilburn, who was charged, said

“Everybody should stand up and demand to be heard by all of their representatives that’s kinda the american way isn’t it?” Wilburn added.

Gardner never showed up, but he spoke with the protesters by phone.

The Denver Police Department moved in and arrested the group, and moved them out of the building.

Last week, it was announced Gardner’s Denver office would move to the U.S. Customs House at 721 19th St. Suite 150, a federal building, until a permanent location is found.