Hundreds Demand Justice For Elijah McClain In Aurora
AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) - Hundreds of demonstrators gathered at the Aurora Municipal Center on Saturday to demand justice for Elijah McClain. The 23-year-old died after a confrontation with Aurora police in August 2019.
His death regained attention after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery this year.
PHOTO GALLERY: Justice For Elijah McClain Rally & March
McClain was walking home from a convenience store wearing a face mask when someone called 911 to report a suspicious person in the area.
On Saturday, the public demanded the three officers and two paramedics be jailed for his death.
The rally started off with a bang. Counter protestors trying to make the case that Elijah McClain was not murdered by police were escorted away.
Quickly though, things calmed down and the rally was peaceful.
"There's a revolution happening right now with the people," says Terrance Roberts a local civil rights activist.
Terrence has been demonstrating and marching for justice for Elijah McClain since August 2019 and he says it's rejuvenating to see how much support the movement has gotten.
"I'm proud to see it," he says, "I remember when there was only six people standing out here."
"There's been a long fight since August," says Aria with the Party for Socialism and Liberation who organized the event.
Aurora's interim police chief, Vanessa Wilson, shared a statement with peaceful protesters saying their voices and demands are not falling on deaf ears. She urged demonstrators to remain peaceful, but says she is aware "outsiders are in attendance" and could pivot the message to violence.
It's been a long fight especially for Elijah's family who came out and spoke to the crowd but left along with other prominent black leaders because they didn't want to be associated with any violence should it break out.
"The family's ready to go, I'm ready to go," said State Rep. Leslie Herod after speaking to the crowd and the media.
Shortly after, the crowd turned on Aurora police in riot gear protecting the police department, but it only ever amounted to yelling by the protesters.
The demonstrators then began marching, making their way down Alameda Avenue toward Sable Boulevard. At one point, they marched onto I-225 and blocked all lanes. They group then marched along the 6th Avenue exit to clear the interstate for traffic.
The protesters marched along 6th Avenue and then through traffic to the Aurora Public Library.
"The police need to know that they can't murder people whenever they have a bad attitude," says Terrance Roberts.
"We want to see justice for Elijah McClain and his family," says Aria.
Justice for activists means not only the arrests of the police and paramedics involved, but also restitution for Elijah's family which they aren't entitled to pursue because investigators labeled Elijah as a suspect.
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