The Daily Beast
They Protested at a Police Station. They’re Charged With Trying to Kidnap Cops.
The July 3 protest in Aurora, Colorado, seemed, at least on the surface, like just another of the hundreds of racial justice protests that have swept the nation this year. Demonstrators sat outside a police station chanting and playing music. Although they said they wouldn’t leave until their demands were met, the protesters were cleared out by police around 4:30 a.m.Colorado Protest Erupts in Panic as Car Drives Into Crowd, Shots Fired But several of the protest leaders are facing felony attempted kidnapping charges for allegedly imprisoning police officers in their own precinct during the protest—charges their fellow activists are calling absurd.Lillian House, Joel Northam, and Whitney “Eliza” Lucero are among a group of Denver-area activists facing a slate of charges related to their protest activities this summer. Local prosecutors say the activists tried to kidnap police by holding a short-lived “occupation”-style protest outside the precinct and blocking its doors. But activists allege a crackdown on the most visible members of their movement, leading to terrifying SWAT arrests and the threat of years in prison.“This characterization that someone quote-unquote kidnapped officers is absolutely ridiculous,” Ryan Hamby, an organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, the Marxist group with which House, Northam, and Lucero are affiliated, told The Daily Beast.“It would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious,” he added.The July 3 protest was one of many that called for the termination of officers involved in the killing of Elijah McClain, a young Black man who died in Aurora Police custody last year. McClain was not accused of any crime but became the subject of police suspicion while walking home from the convenience store when someone called 911 to report him “look[ing] sketchy.” Police