Dozens of “Abolish ICE Denver” protesters marched through the streets of the Aurora neighborhood where Choate lives, for a couple of hours.
“This is a public forum, we have First Amendment rights and its entirely appropriate,” said one protester.
“I came here with my two children, one is 7, one is 5, if I was worried about safety at this protest we wouldn’t be here with my kids,” said another.
“I think it’s a misuse of their time and their effort to come into his neighborhood trying to harass neighbors,” said one resident.
This week, the ACLU released a report critical of conditions inside the detention facility but did not call for the protest outside of the official’s home.
#APDAlert Tonight during the protest three males were arrested. Two were adults, and the third we are working to get a positive identification on. They will be prosecuted by the @DA18th Among their charges are Obstruction, Disorderly Conduct and resisting arrest. pic.twitter.com/qEE4pVLwB7
A GEO Group spokesman provided the following statement, “Tonight we breathe a sigh of relief that our employee’s family and his neighbors are safe and their properties remain intact. Unfortunately, the spectacle has set a new low in our politics and public discourse.
“We hope the community support and pushback from brave leaders opposing this dangerous idea will serve as a deterrent for any future protests targeting people in their family’s homes and neighborhoods. These misdirected attacks and intimidation of our employees must stop and we encourage our local leaders to stand against these hateful tactics and push for a return to civil discourse. Remember, our employees are also your neighbors, friends and colleagues, who share the same compassion and professionalism that many other Coloradans pursue in their trades.
“We continue to believe that these activists seeking open borders or other changes to our immigration laws should direct their thoughts and ideas to our elected leaders in their constituent offices. We can’t solve the immigration crisis from our facilities but as we’ve done over the past 30 years in Aurora, we’ll continue to provide the same high-quality, professional services we provided to both Democratic and Republican administrations.”
“This camp is notorious for numerous outbreaks and quarantines, coverups, medical neglect, torture via solitary confinement (up to nine months) of trans, gay, and mentally ill captives, and was one of four camps nationwide that was recently reprimanded by *Trumps own Department of Homeland Security* for human rights abuses,” the Abolish ICE Denver group said.
They are planning to protest outside Johnny Choates home, who the group describes as “cruel.” The group has encouraged people to bring a sign, poster, musical instrument, and “all your righteous rage” so Choates neighbors know what he does for a living. Abolish ICE Denver added they intend to have peaceful rally.
“The planned protest outside Warden Choates home by extreme anti-ICE protesters goes beyond the pale. Groups like Abolish ICE have demonstrated they have little regard for the rule of law, and the threatening nature of this protest should be taken very seriously,” Colorado GOP Chairman Ken Buck said in a statement.
“It should not be difficult for elected officials from either party to speak out against this blatant attempt to terrorize Mr. Choate, his family, and his neighbors,” he added.
In an editorial published last week, The Aurora Sentinel criticized the protest as a “thinly veiled act of extortion and terrorism,” adding, “Its an unnerving and repugnant act that borders on violence. Its a scheme that clear-headed members of these and other anti-ICE or anti-GEO groups should work feverishly to stop.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado has said they do not support the protest outside Choates home.