On May 6, 17th Judicial District DA Brian Mason announced that he was dismissing all outstanding felony and misdemeanor charges filed in his district against Lillian House, Joel Northam, Eliza Lucero, Terrance Roberts and Trey Quinn. “I have an ethical obligation to only proceed on charges my office can prove and to dismiss charges that we cannot prove,” Mason says in a statement on his decision. “My job is to do the right thing.”
Mason was elected DA in November, replacing his term-limited boss, Dave Young, who had cleared all officers of any wrongdoing in connection with McClain's death the previous November. While absolving the APD, last September Young filed a total of twenty charges against five protesters, including a felony charge of first-degree kidnapping against Young, Lucero and Northam, who'd led a protest at APD District 1 headquarters on July 3, 2020, while there were officers inside.
But on March 25, Adams County Judge Leroy Kirby dismissed those kidnapping charges. “This choice makes it impossible for this to be a substantial step toward imprisonment," he ruled. "Imprisonment, the Court finds, is against someone’s will. The Court cannot find that based upon the evidence presented, these officers were confined against their will.”
Then on April 5, newly elected 18th Judicial District DA John Kellner — who took over for term-limited George Brauchler — dropped all felony and most misdemeanor charges against the protest leaders in connection with incidents in Arapahoe County, particularly the blocking of I-225 last summer.
“These changes were requested after careful review of the investigation and the available evidence,” reads a statement released by the DA’s office. “Prosecutors must reasonably believe that charges are supported by probable cause, admissible evidence will be sufficient to support conviction beyond a reasonable doubt, and that the decision to charge is in the interest of justice.”
A dozen misdemeanor charges are still outstanding in that jurisdiction. Terrance Roberts, a longtime Denver activist, is facing a charge of obstructing a highway. House faces two counts of obstructing a highway, as well as charges of tampering and petty theft. Northam also faces two counts of obstructing a highway, as well as charges of tampering, petty theft and harassment.
Meanwhile, at the request of Governor Jared Polis, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser is also looking into the case; a grand jury investigation is currently considering the evidence, and Weiser is conducting a department-wide investigation of the Aurora Police Department, now under the command of Chief Vanessa Wilson, who was elevated to that position last August.
Last year, the feds confirmed that they, too, are investigating the circumstances of Elijah McClain's death..