DA drops charges against last Elijah McClain protester

Prosecutors last week dropped the criminal case against the last protester still facing charges after a large 2020 demonstration outside an Aurora Police Department substation over the death of Elijah McClain.

Daxx Dalton, 25, had been charged with false imprisonment, engaging in a riot and obstructing government property in connection with the July 3, 2020, protest outside the police precinct.

During that protest, as many as 600 demonstrators surrounded the police station for several hours to protest police violence and officers’ treatment of McClain, who died after he was violently stopped by Aurora police in 2019 and injected with ketamine.

During the protest, some participants used ropes to tie shut the police station’s doors, obstructed those doors with furniture and blocked surrounding streets with makeshift barricades made from construction materials, bike racks, rocks, fencing and other scavenged materials. Eighteen police officers were inside the precinct at the time.

Two months later, several protesters were charged with a slew of crimes, including attempted kidnapping, in what their attorneys said was a politically motivated and baseless prosecution intended to chill free speech.

A judge in March 2021 threw out the attempted kidnapping charges after a preliminary hearing, and 17th Judicial District Attorney Brian Mason dropped the remaining charges against most of the protesters in May 2021. The protesters had been charged by his predecessor, Dave Young.

Mason continued to prosecute Dalton, however, as well as another protester, Cameron Frazier. Records show Frazier pleaded guilty in December to illegally possessing a weapon; other charges against him were dismissed.

Some protesters had also faced charges in the 18th Judicial District, which was at the time led by District Attorney George Brauchler, but those charges were withdrawn by Brauchler’s replacement, District Attorney John Kellner.

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