Advocates For Elijah McClain, Murdered by Colorado Police, Reportedly Face Attacks from Police, Prosecutors

Black Star News, National Committee for Justice in Denver, police targeting racial justice advocates, 2019 murder of Elijah McCl
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The following commentary is by the National Committee for Justice in Denver which is reporting that police have been targeting and retaliating against racial justice advocates who have been speaking out against the 2019 murder of Elijah McClain by cops in Aurora, Colorado.

People all over the country are learning about the explosive new report just out in Aurora, CO which concluded that the Aurora Police's entire encounter with Elijah McClain which ended in his death was unjustified.

What is not being talked about in most media coverage is that the organizers who led the massive peaceful protests which forced this report to be commissioned are still facing as many as 48 years in prison.

The city of Aurora commissioned the independent investigation that produced the report in July of 2020 after weeks of massive peaceful protests demanding accountability for the murder of Elijah McClain. (Similarly, the Colorado Attorney General’s investigation which is still ongoing was commissioned around the same time in response to the same public pressure.)

The activists who organized the protests that have made Elijah McClain's case an international issue are facing fierce state retaliation from the very police and prosecutors responsible for the murder of McClain and its coverup.

On September 17, without warning, leaders of the peaceful protest movement in Aurora were suddenly and dramatically arrested at their homes, while driving, while jogging in a park. Police arrived at one organizer's house with a SWAT team and a tank, dragging him out in front of his neighbors.

These activists were then taken to jail, where three of them—Lillian House, Joel Northam, and Eliza Lucero—were held for eight days in degrading conditions in COVID-ridden jails before they were finally allowed a bond hearing. They now face dozens of false charges that could put them behind bars for as many as 48 years. They are criminally charged for every protest they led in Aurora for Elijah McClain, ranging back to June 27, despite the fact that the protests led by these organizers were consistently nonviolent, mass, community-based demonstrations.

The same corruption and collusion among the police and prosecutors detailed in the new report is the same corruption at play in this political prosecution. The charges the organizers face were filed by two Aurora district attorneys—Dave Young, the district attorney who declined to file charges against the police officers who killed Elijah McClain, and George Brauchler, who declined to file charges against a man who attempted to drive his Jeep into a crowd of peaceful protesters.

Two of the three cops who killed Elijah McClain and both paramedics involved in the administration of the ketamine are still employed by the city of Aurora and none have faced charges! Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson, in a press conference following the release of the report, would not even commit to disciplining the two remaining killer cops on APD’s force.

The sole officer who did lose his job was fired in July after it was leaked that he had participated in a photo scandal involving three other APD officers who had taken selfies at the site where Elijah was brutalized, mocking the carotid chokehold used on him. Jason Rosenblatt was on record texting “haha” in response to the photos.

Meanwhile, the targeted peaceful protest leaders head to an arraignment hearing in Arapahoe County on March 1 and a preliminary hearing in Adams County on March 9. (Their charges span two Aurora counties where they led peaceful protests for McClain.) This political prosecution is perhaps the most extreme to come out of the summer of protest against racist police violence, yet is getting next to no media attention.

Nonetheless, this case has raised alarms for major constitutional and civil rights voices, legal scholars, social justice activists, labor leaders, and justice-minded people generally both in the Denver-Aurora area and nationally, who recognize the total injustice and the far-reaching implications of this case and have spoken out about this case. Tens of thousands of individuals and organizations have signed on to the demand to drop the charges.

View the website of the National Committee for Justice in Denver at denverdefense.org to learn more about the nationwide mobilization calling on the Aurora district attorneys to stop the political prosecution of peaceful protesters for justice.

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