District Attorney Brian Mason Announces the Dismissal of All Remaining Charges Against Five Individuals from July 3rd, 2020 Protest at Aurora Police District 1 Station
Brighton, CO —Today, 17th Judicial District Attorney Brian S. Mason is announcing the dismissal of all remaining felony and misdemeanor charges against Lillian House, Joel Northam, Whitney Lucero, Terrance Roberts, and Trey Quinn for their roles in the protests outside of the Aurora Police Department District 1 Station on July 3, 2020.
During the protest on July 3rd, a large crowd surrounded Aurora Police Department District 1 Station. Over the course of this event, the doors of the police station were tied shut and the police officers inside were obstructed from leaving. Following this protest, House, Northam, Lucero, Roberts, and Quinn were formally charged by the previous 17th Judicial District Attorney. Those charges included:
House: Felony Attempted 1stDegree Kidnapping, Felony Attempt to Influence a Public Servant, Felony Inciting a Riot (2), Misdemeanor Engaging in a Riot, and Misdemeanor Obstructing Government Operations
Northam: Felony Attempted 1st Degree Kidnapping, Felony Inciting a Riot (2), Misdemeanor Engaging in a Riot, Misdemeanor Obstructing Government Operations
Lucero: Felony Attempted 1st Degree Kidnapping, Felony Inciting a Riot (2), Misdemeanor Engaging in a Riot, Misdemeanor Obstructing Government Operations
Roberts: Felony Inciting a Riot, Misdemeanor Engaging in a Riot, Misdemeanor Obstructing Government Operations
Quinn: Felony Inciting a Riot (2), Misdemeanor Engaging in a Riot, Misdemeanor False Imprisonment, Misdemeanor Obstructing Government Operations
The felony charge of Attempted 1st Degree Kidnapping against House, Northam, and Lucero was dismissed by an Adams County Judge in March.
After a thorough review of the case, District Attorney Brian Mason, who took office in January 2021, has decided to drop the remaining felony and misdemeanor charges against the five individuals named above. District Attorney Mason invited Ms. House, Mr. Northam, Mrs. Lucero, Mr. Roberts, and Mr. Quinn to make statements, either personally or through their respective attorneys, in conjunction with his announcement regarding the dismissal of these charges.
Those statements are included below.
Statement from District Attorney Brian Mason:
“After a thorough review of these cases, I have decided to dismiss the charges against these five individuals. I have an ethical obligation to only proceed on charges my office can prove and dismiss charges that we cannot prove. My job is to do the right thing. After considerable thought and reflection, I believe dismissing these charges is the right thing to do. I believe in the First Amendment, the right to peaceably assemble, and the right to peaceably protest. I also believe in the rule of law. These should not be in conflict with one another. Indeed, they should go hand in hand.”
“On the night of July 3, 2020, significant lines were crossed during the protest at Aurora’s District One Police Station. It is not a peaceful protest to tie the doors of a police station and prevent police officers from responding to calls for service. Doing so is against the law, puts our community at risk, and undermines the principles of the First Amendment. I am gratified that the five individuals, whose cases I dismiss today, say they agree with these sentiments. I grew up in Aurora and care deeply about this city. The Aurora community has gone through a lot and is deeply in need of healing. I hope that today’s decision will promote this; and that, together, we can seek peaceful and effective ways to address the significant issues of our day.”
Statement from Amelia Power, Esq., Josh Landy, Esq., and Adam Frank, Esq. on Behalf of Lillian House, Joel Northam, and Whitney Lucero:
“Our clients, Lillian House, Joel Northam, and Eliza Lucero, applaud Mr. Mason in dropping the charges against them and authorize their attorneys to release the following statement.
Peaceful protest is a crucial avenue for the community to address injustice and a right that everyone in our country should be able to exercise without fear. All parties agree that lines were crossed on July 3 and 4. The law is clear that tying doors to a police station is not legal and there has never been an allegation that our clients did
so. The goals of peaceful protest are not to prevent police from responding to calls for service, but to affect change that addresses the needs of the community.
We believe in the First Amendment and its guarantee of the right to free speech and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. We are glad to move forward.”
Statement from Mr. Tyrone Glover, Esq. on Behalf of Terrance Roberts:
“Free speech is an indispensable right guaranteed by our U.S. Constitution. The right to organize and protest is the foundation of liberty and a central tool for calling out injustice. For more than a decade-and-a-half, Terrance Roberts has organized and lead his community under principles of non-violent protest, inspired by the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and other leaders.
It is Mr. Roberts’ understanding that on or about July 3rd and 4th, 2020, individuals in attendance at a peaceful protest he helped organize, crossed lines. Mr. Roberts wants to be clear— he does not endorse tying doors to police stations so that officers are unable to respond to calls for service. Not only is this illegal, but it is counterproductive to the causes for which he organizes. Mr. Roberts did not call for such actions and does not support them.
Terrance Roberts does not promote nor approve of violence as a means of protest. Like the many activists and civil rights leaders who came before him, Terrance Roberts believes in non-violent protest as the best way to arouse community consciousness and effect change. In the struggle of a lifetime, we cannot be afraid to raise our voices to be heard, but we must not resort to violence to get our point across. As Dr. King said, “our end is a community at peace with itself.”
Statement from Trey Quinn:
“As one of the noted figures on the ground during the protest, there are a few things I feel must be addressed. The state of Colorado witnessed a large number of demonstrations. Some of these went in my opinion, too far. The night of the protest surrounding the Aurora police department is an example of the line between peaceful protesting and acts that inherently put the public in danger. The tying of the doors turned into a potentially dangerous decision taken by protesters. With tensions already high, the protesters who locked and blocked the doors were directly putting in danger, anyone who would have called the police for aid. Unanswered 911 calls for any extended period of time is dangerous and this was all night. If the demonstration wanted to show its care for the public, there would have been a consideration for what the ramifications of preventing police from answering 911 calls could be.”
“I had come out to pressure the state into a conversation with myself and the community. I did not come out to dissolve any opportunity for legitimate dialogue between the state, police, and ourselves. I seek real solutions. I do not seek a drawn-out standoff as the entry to a beneficial understanding. What concerned me that night was the idea that in this continued manner of protesting, very few solutions will come. The state will pour dollar after dollar into the police department to standoff with protesters, just as protesters will pour their sweat into standing off with police. This will not create an actual safer society. Everyone is militarized and no one is thinking that beneath every outfit, uniform, or ideology is a human being. If in fact, they want to, people change, feelings change, ideas, and relationships change. Everyone will live in fear the longer we avoid talking to each other as humans. We MUST eliminate the hatred between us, we must communicate to a greater degree. If we seek accountability from officials and police it has to be by engaging in adult, truthful, and agreeable conversations. We must also look in on our own communities and have honest conversations. Then all of us must come to the table and be honest and speak truly to one another.”
Daxx Dalton is still charged with Misdemeanor False Imprisonment, Misdemeanor Engaging in a Riot, and Misdemeanor Obstructing Government Operations as a result of the evidence related to his role in the July 3, 2020 protest. Cameron Frazier is also still charged with Felony Possession of a Dangerous Weapon and Felony Possession of a Weapon by a Previous Offender (F5 and F6). Please note, the filing of a criminal charge is merely a formal accusation that an individual(s) committed a crime(s) under Colorado laws. A defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
District Attorney Mason assumed the oath of office on January 12, 2021. The 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office endeavors to seek justice on behalf of the citizens of Adams and Broomfield counties in felony and misdemeanor cases. DA Mason and his staff are dedicated to transforming the criminal justice system to better serve the citizens of the 17th Judicial District.
Ms. Gazelka is a forensic therapist and clinician in Denver, Colorado. She is currently focused on providing therapy and assessment services to adult offenders in the community corrections and parole systems as a supervisor at Correctional Psychology Associates (CPA). Her education and career have been devoted to the intersection of psychology and law since 2000. Ms. Gazelka has been working within the field of forensic and correctional psychology since 2006, providing therapy in the community and acute mental health care and risk assessments in county jails. She has practiced as a Licensed Professional Counselor since June 2012. She also became a Licensed Addiction Counselor in March 2014. She was listed as a full operating level DVOMB Approved Provider in June 2019 and started a fledgling DV program oriented to Colorado’s Department of Corrections at CPA in September 2019. Ms. Gazelka was appointed to the Domestic Violence Offender Management Board (DVOMB) in March 2019 and has started her second term with the board. Ms. Gazelka has been recognized for her work as Contributor of the Year at CPA in 2010 and 2012, as well as having been awarded an Alumni Impact Award for her forensic work in the community by University of Denver’s GSPP in 2019. Ms. Gazelka received her Master of Arts degree in Forensic Clinical Psychology from University of Denver's Graduate School of Professional Psychology in 2009. Ms. Gazelka also received her Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law in 2007, obtaining attorney’s licenses in both Minnesota and Colorado (currently inactive).
Alex Castro Croy
Alex Castro Croy is a bilingual, bicultural, Trauma and Addiction Counselor and owner/Lead Clinician of Life Recovery Centers in Denver and Northglenn Colorado.
A first-generation immigrant from Mexico who accomplished his dream in higher education receiving an AA in Pastoral Ministry (Dallas, Texas), Bachelor of Science in Human Services (MSU in Denver, Colorado) and MA in Community Counseling from Regis University (Denver, Co). He is continuing to pursue his MA/Ph.D. from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Jungian and Archetypal Studies.
Alex’s passion includes training, teaching, counseling, and consulting. He has been an Adjunct Professor for the Human Services Department at MSU-Denver for 9 years. He has served as an Interventionist for the Latino GLBTQ community, Drug Court Probation Officer at Denver Juvenile Court Probation (8 years), Bilingual Diversion Officer for Denver DA office (5 years), and currently owner and director of Life Recovery Centers (7 years). He has worked with a variety of clients from all walks of life and his eclectic therapeutic interventions have proven to be effective in treating trauma and addiction.
Thea Wessel is an addictions counselor with a private practice in Colorado. She has been working in the criminal and addiction fields for thirteen years. Ms. Wessel earned her Masters in forensic psychology from the University of Denver and has her LPC, LAC, MAC, NCAAC, and ADS. She is working towards her Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Ms. Wessel continually challenges herself and others to provide quality addiction treatment and ways to continue to educate the community about addiction issues.