Police identify Lakewood woman cited for tampering during Aurora GEO protest

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Michelle Mata,

AURORA | The woman cited for tampering with a U.S. flag at the GEO immigration detention facility in Aurora earlier this month has been identified as 37-year-old Michelle Mata of Lakewood.

Mata was cited with a single municipal code violation of criminal tampering on July 24, according to city documents obtained through an open records request. She’s due to appear in Aurora Municipal Court at 8 a.m. on Aug. 27.

Aurora Police have been searching for a group of people suspected of desecrating several flags and banners at the north Aurora detention center during a protest on July 12. More than 2,000 people attended the gathering, which was intended to condemn the practices of GEO and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Local and national officials, including Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler and Aurora City Councilman Dave Gruber, have widely condemned the protestors suspected of tampering with the flags.

Police have not yet issued any other citations or made any other arrests connected to the GEO protest, according to Officer Matt Longshore, spokesman for the Aurora Police Department. 

Longshore said investigators are still receiving tips related to other people believed to have tampered with the flags.

Mata, a native of Texas, has been arrested in Colorado once before, according to Colorado Bureau of Investigation records. In August 2003, the Thornton Police Department arrested her on an unknown warrant issued in Adams County.

In a photograph issued by police, Mata can be seen at the protest wearing a black bandana and a t-shirt that reads “f*** ICE” in Spanish.

Mata is accused of tampering at about 7:50 p.m. on July 12, according to her municipal court summons.

People with potential information regarding any of the still unidentified “persons of interest” from the protest are encouraged to email [email protected] Aurora police are offering a reward of up to $2,000 for legitimate information.

Informants wishing to remain anonymous can call the Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867. The Metro Denver Crime Stoppers are also offering a reward of up to $2,000 for legitimate information. 

The two rewards can be combined for a total reward of up to $4,000, according to Aurora police.