Police Pepper Spray Protesters At Peaceful Demonstration For Elijah McClain
Peaceful protesters gathered outside of an Aurora Municipal Center in Aurora, Colorado to honor the late Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old black man who died after being in police custody last year. During the demonstration, protesters played the violin in tribute to McClain, a violin player himself who always visited animal shelters to play for the homeless animals. As they watched on, police shut down the peaceful protest and pepper-sprayed protesters, TMZ reported.
In videos on Twitter, police in riot gear are seen marching on to a grassy field and telling protesters to disperse. They also used their batons to push protesters back. As things became hostile, some still continued to play their violins. At one point, the Aurora Police Department tweeted that some protesters had become rowdy.
“There is a small contingent of protesters that are arming themselves with rocks & sticks and continue to ignore orders to move back. This is now an unlawful assembly,” they tweeted. “Disperse. Peaceful protesters & community members should move to the s/w parking lot by the library.”
When police arrived, CBS reported that protesters chanted “hands up, don’t shoot” with their hands up. After 8:15 p.m, police announced that the crowd had to leave or they would be pepper-sprayed and they did just that.
Three people were arrested by the end of the night.
It is unclear why the police needed to disperse the peaceful demonstration. Both TMZ and CBS report that the protest was peaceful the entire afternoon.
According to Patch, McClain died last August but his death began making headlines last week. While walking home he had on a ski mask because he had anemia and became cold easily. After a bystander called 911 and said they saw a “suspicious man,” police approached him. After he refused to stop, police put him in a chokehold for 15 minutes. McClain also vomited during the encounter. Paramedics were called and he was also injected with ketamine to sedate him. He had a heart attack on the way to hospital and was put into a coma. He died on August 27, 2019.