January 25, 2021
Josh Amos and Martin Stuart of the Colorado criminal defense firm McDermott Stuart & Ward LLP, were interviewed for an article published by the Denver Post on January 25, 2020, titled, “Charges Dismissed Against One of Six Protest Leaders Prosecuted After Aurora Demonstrations,” for their efforts representing the accused.
A judge last week dismissed all charges against one of six Denver-area protest leaders who were arrested after organizing demonstrations against police brutality in Aurora during the summer.
Prosecutors in the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office requested Thursday that the four felony charges against Russell Ruch, 33, be dismissed, according to court records.
“The people feel that the ends of justice could not be further served by continued prosecution of the defendant,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Clinton McKinzie wrote in the motion, which was filed seven days after new District Attorney John Kellner was sworn in to replace George Brauchler, who brought the charges.
“This was a purely political prosecution,” said attorney Joshua Amos, who represented Ruch along with MSW attorney, Martin Stuart.
Ruch was one of six protest organizers who were charged in September on a variety counts — ranging from kidnapping to inciting a riot — in what Ruch’s attorneys say was a clear attempt to quash the protests, which centered on the death of Elijah McClain, who died after he was violently stopped by Aurora police in 2019.
“We believe it was an egregious abuse of the legal process,” Amos said of the charges against Ruch. “The criminal justice system should not be used as a political tool to silence constitutionally protected free speech.”
Ruch, who has no criminal history, was accused of two felony counts of theft and two felony counts of conspiracy to commit theft after video taken during a June protest showed him standing in a crowd of protesters as another person took a handmade sign from a counter-protester, according to a 39-page affidavit detailing the allegations against all six leaders. The affidavit says the video shows Ruch “knows the theft is occurring and appears to actively assist… in the theft of the sign.”
The video actually made it clear Ruch didn’t steal anything, his attorneys said Monday, noting that there are many hours of video evidence in the case and that no new evidence has been discovered since the charges were filed — nothing, they said, that would suddenly change the facts of the case.
The prosecution’s request for the charges to be dropped indicates prosecutors “didn’t have a case,” Stuart said.
You may read the full article here.