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Elijah McClain Protest: Aurora Police Arrest 3 People, Use Pepper Spray On 'Unruly' Crowd

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) - Aurora police used pepper spray on people gathered at the Aurora Municipal Center on Saturday night and arrested three people. Earlier in the day, a protest demanding justice for Elijah McClain was held outside the police station and things were primarily peaceful throughout the afternoon and early evening.

Police officers in riot gear were stationed outside the station, which was fenced off and boarded up. As the sun started to go down, police warned that anyone who crossed the fence at the entrance would be subject to arrest.

"Tensions remain high, orders to step off the fence and move back are not being followed," police tweeted a little later, urging protesters to remain peaceful.

Crowds chanted "hands up, don't shoot" as they faced off with officers.

The police tweeted that a "small contingent" of protesters were "arming themselves" with sticks and rocks, and ignoring orders to move back.

At about 8:15 p.m., police announced that everyone must leave or else they would release chemical agents.

PHOTO GALLERY: Justice For Elijah McClain Rally & March

CBS4's Dillon Thomas was there as officers worked to push back the crowds, and ultimately fired pepper spray.

Police urged peaceful protesters and community members to move to the southwest parking lot, by the library.

Police arrested three people -- for "violating lawful orders after warnings were given," police said on Twitter.

After that, it seemed to settle down.

"Unruly protesters have stopped throwing rocks, sticks and bottles at police officers. Tensions have calmed," police tweeted a little after 9 p.m. "We thank the peaceful protesters for your part in helping us keep this event safe."

RELATED: Elijah McClain's Death Gaining International Attention

It's been almost a year since Aurora police announced no charges would be filed against officers in the death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain.

CBS4 first reported about the death following an altercation between McClain and the officers in Aurora in August of 2019. Someone called 911 to report McClain was "acting odd" and wearing a ski mask as he walked home. The caller told dispatch McClain was not armed, and had not committed a crime.

Police claim McClain resisted arrested -- and tried to grab an officer's gun. During the confrontation with police, McClain was placed in a carotid restraint, a technique that was recently banned by the Aurora Police Department. The Aurora Fire Department was also called to the scene and administered a dose of ketamine to subdue McClain.

McClain went into cardiac arrest twice on the way to the hospital.

The autopsy report from the Adams County Coroner's Office declared McClain's manner and cause of death undetermined. In the report, the coroner stated intense physical exertion and a narrow coronary artery contributed to McClain's death. The report also stated that the ketamine concentration was at a "therapeutic level."

RELATED: Elijah McClain Death: District Attorney Says Evidence Does Not Support Homicide Ruling

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