Elijah McClain protest: Aurora cops storm 'peaceful violin vigil' in riot gear, use pepper spray at angry mob

The protesters had earlier held a rally where they walked behind a banner that read: ‘Justice for Elijah McClain, murdered by Aurora police’

                            Elijah McClain protest: Aurora cops storm 'peaceful violin vigil' in riot gear, use pepper spray at angry mob
Protestors outside the Aurora Police Department Headquarters to demand justice for Elijah McClain on June 27, 2020. (Getty Images)

AURORA, COLORADO: At a time when the police in various parts of the US have faced flak for their excesses against the colored community, an event in Aurora, Colorado, has added fuel to the fire. The law-enforcers were seen approaching a peaceful protest to recall deceased African-American Elijah McClain at City Center Park on Saturday, June 27, wearing riot gear and eventually spraying them with pepper spray. The fact that the protest included a peaceful violin vigil when the cops marched into it shocked several quarters. 

The arrival of the police was sudden. The personnel stormed the gathering until the point when only the noise of the violinists could be heard. Seeing the men in uniform approaching, the crowd started shouting “No!” The police then took on the angry protesters and used pepper spray to move them out of the park forcibly. The protesters, however, showed resistance with some even forming a human chain around the violinists to shield them from the advancing cops. 

The protesters earlier held a rally whereby they walked behind a banner that read: ‘Justice for Elijah McClain, murdered by Aurora police’. 

Elijah McClain too died a brutal death like George Floyd

McClain, a 23-year-old African-American youth, has made the headlines more frequently at a time when the US is witnessing massive pro-black protests in the wake of the brutal killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. McClain was killed on August 24 last year at the hands of the police like Floyd and videos of his agonizing death have also gone viral in recent weeks. None of the officers involved in the gruesome incident have been held.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis (Getty Images)


McClain, who was known for his good manners, was returning from a grocery store where he had bought a bottle of iced tea. A local resident called the police warning something suspicious about him. Officers from Aurora’s Denver suburb responded to the call and soon caught McClain and tortured him, causing his death.

In a scene that resembled the killing of Floyd who was pinned to the ground and an officer pressed his knee against his neck, McClain was also heard “I can’t breathe” before he started vomiting. According to his attorney, the officers then responded that they were bringing in a dog to bite the youth. McClain was subsequently injected with Ketamine and he died soon after in a heart attack. His death ignited small protests over the last 10 months but Floyd’s death saw it gaining renewed attention.

The protesters on Saturday were angered by the site of police in riot gear saying there was no riot happening there. Aurora Police Department said later that the crowd was getting unruly with some even starting to throw projectiles. Three persons were said to be arrested for violating orders despite being warned. The Aurora Police Department, however, said that no tear gas was used against the protesters and said in a tweet that such reports were false. 

The Colorado officials could not ignore the McClain murder case any more after an online petition gained more than three million signatures. Governor Jared Polis has appointed a special prosecutor to re-examine the death of the African-American youth. On June 25, he said that he has signed an executive order whereby the state’s Attorney General, Phil Weiser, has been designated to probe McClain’s death and determine whether the facts support criminal prosecution.

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