AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — There was a major development Thursday in the case of a group of protestors who faced decades of jail time after a demonstration at the Aurora Police Department.
The charges were dropped against all of them.
It was a demonstration at the Aurora’s District 1 Police Department on July 3 that prompted felony and misdemeanor charges.
The group was protesting the death of Elijah McLain who died in police custody.
Charges against five protestors ranged from kidnapping to engaging in a riot to obstructing government operations.
Lillian House was among those charged and was facing up to 48 years in prison.
“This is such a huge victory for justice and for our community. I believe that we were made targets here because we were at the front of these protests and had nothing to hide. It’s a major relief,” said House.
Seventeenth Judicial District DA Brian Mason said lines were crossed, but there just was not enough evidence to charge the protestors.
“I have to look at these cases from a legal perspective of what I can prove and what I can’t prove. I have an ethical obligation to proceed on cases where I can prove them beyond a reasonable doubt. And if I can’t prove them beyond a reasonable doubt my obligation is to dismiss,” said Mason.
Eighteen officers were unable to leave the building, in which the entrances were barricaded by some of the 600 protestors.
But Amelia Power, who represents House, said the charges were not justified.
“I think there was a lot of conflating between what is alleged that the group of protestors did versus what my client Lillian House did. There was never an allegation that Lillian House or any of the other protestors ever tied a door at the police station,” said Power.
Aurora Police did not provide a response about Thursday’s decision but did respond when other charges were dropped last month.
“I’m extremely disappointed I was hoping that this case would go forward but I feel as though the opportunity for a jury of their peers was reasonable,” said Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson.
House believes they were targeted as they tried to bring attention to the death of Elijah McLain.
House said this case is over, but the fight for Elijah continues.