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6 Rioters Charged For Trapping Police Inside Aurora Police Station

Aurora, CO – Six rioters have been charged in connection with violent protests at the Aurora Police Department’s District One station house in July when rioters chained the doors of the police station shut and plotted to storm the building.

“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,” Adams County District Attorney Dave Young said in a press release obtained by The Police Tribune on Thursday. “When individuals cross the line and break the law, they will be prosecuted.”

The incident occurred when protesters demonstrating at a memorial for 23-year-old Elijah McClain marched to the Aurora Police Department’s District 1 station house near Montview and Wheeling just after 8 p.m. on July 3, KDVR reported.

Protesters chained the doors of the police station shut from the outside, trapping officers inside.

Protesters served Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson with a list of demands shortly after 8 p.m. that included the termination of the rest of the officers involved in the death of McClain on Aug. 24, 2019, KDVR reported.

The district attorney said in the press release that rioters 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,” Young said.

He also said in the press release that some of the violent protesters carried handguns and rifles and wore military or tactical clothing.

“The unfortunate part is they trapped our officers inside, not just them being around the building, but physically wrapping ropes and other items around the doors of the district one station, around the entry exit gates our patrol cars come out of… that was probably the most dangerous part,” Aurora Police Department Spokesman Officer Matthew Longshore told reporters at the time.

Angry protesters barricaded the streets and vandalized the exterior of the police station for seven hours, KDVR reported.

Police didn’t move in to clear out the protesters locking their fellow officers in the station until about 3:30 a.m. on July 4 when rioters began shooting fireworks at officers in the area.

“They were starting to take the big mortar style type fireworks while they were trying to untie the gates so officers could come and go, they started throwing fireworks at them. Not only that, someone had a fire extinguisher, they were spraying our officers with a fire extinguisher. We didn’t use any force until they started doing it to us, that’s when we used 40-millimeter foam rounds, no pepper spray or tear gas or smoke,” Officer Longshore explained.

He said that the decision to let the protesters keep the officers locked in was made intentionally, KDVR reported.

“There wasn’t a rush to come in move people out,” Officer Longshore said. “The officers were safe inside. We wanted to give the people the ability to express their First Amendment right, to protest, peacefully assemble and make their voices heard, so we didn’t have an immediate rush to go in and clear people out. Waiting a little bit longer, the crowd size became smaller, so we had an advantage.”

Afterward, police found full gas cans and other homemade weapons hidden in the area around the police station, KDVR reported.

“We found gas cans, full of gasoline that were staged in that immediate area,” Officer Longshore said.

Officers were unable to respond to 911 calls in the area for the seven hours protesters surrounded District 1, KDVR reported.

“Come get your message across. That’s great, but to put officers’ lives at risk or the community’s lives at risk because we can’t respond because we are trapped inside of a building, that’s not right,” Aurora police said at the time.

Charges against the rioters were announced on Sept. 17 in the 17th and 18th judicial districts, according to press releases from both district attorneys’ offices.

Prosecutors in the 18th Judicial District, which covers Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, and Lincoln Counties, charged 25-year-old Lillian Rose House with two counts of inciting a riot, two counts of conspiracy to commit inciting a riot, two counts of theft from a person, two counts of conspiracy to commit theft from a person, two counts of engaging in a riot, two counts of conspiracy to commit engaging in a riot, three counts of obstructing a highway or other passageway, and three counts of conspiracy to commit obstructing a highway or other passageway, according to the press release.

Rose is also facing felony charges in the 17th Judicial District, which covers Adams and Broomfield Counties.

Young’s office charged Rose with attempt to commit first-degree kidnapping, attempt to influence a public servant, obstructing government operations, engaging in a riot, and two counts of inciting a riot.

Adams County prosecutors also charged 32-year-old Joel Prentice Northam with attempt to commit first-degree kidnapping, obstructing government operations, inciting a riot, engaging in a riot, and inciting a riot by giving commands, according to the press release.

Prosecutors in the 18th Judicial District also charged Northam with two counts of inciting a riot, two counts of conspiracy to commit inciting a riot, two counts of theft from a person, two counts of conspiracy to commit theft from a person, three counts of engaging in a riot, two counts of conspiracy to commit engaging in a riot, three counts of obstructing a highway or other passageway, and three counts of conspiracy to commit obstructing a highway or other passageway.

The same prosecutors charged 23-year-old Whitney Hanna Lucero with attempt to commit first-degree kidnapping, inciting a riot, inciting a riot by giving commands, engaging in a riot, and obstructing governmental operations, according to the 18th Judicial District’s press release.

Trey Anthony Quinn, 33, was charged with inciting a riot, inciting a riot by giving commands, engaging in a riot, false imprisonment, and obstructing government operations.

Additionally, in the 17th Judicial District, 33-year-old John Russel Ruch was charged with two counts of theft from a person and two counts of conspiracy to commit theft from a person, according to Young’s press release.

Prosecutors in Adams County also charged 44-year old Terrance Terrell Roberts with engaging in a riot, conspiracy to commit engaging in a riot, obstructing a highway or other passageway, and conspiracy to commit obstructing a highway or other passageway.

The charges were filed in more than one judicial district because the city of Aurora spans three different counties that fall under two different prosecuting jurisdictions, Aurora Police Public Information Officer Crystal McCoy explained to The Police Tribune.

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Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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