Protesters at the Aurora Police Station are calling for the dismissal of officials involved in Elijah McClain’s death
Protesters marched from the site of Elijah McClain’s forcible arrest by Aurora police last summer to District 1 station on Friday evening, where they said they will remain peaceful until all officials involved in the 23-year-old’s death are released.
Protesters surrounded the District 1 station at 13347 E. Montview Blvd. on Friday evening in the so-called “APD cast”, in which McClains read the last words over a loudspeaker and “I don’t see any commotion here!” Why are you in riot gear? “with officers.
“Let’s make it clear to you and your lying pigs this time around that we don’t intend to storm this district at the moment,” said an unidentified organizer over a megaphone, reading from the Party’s open letter to the interim police chief of Aurora Vanessa Wilson.
“We’ll make sure not every single person here moves from this place around the station tonight until you publicly agree to fire Randy Roedema and Nathan Woodyard.”
Though previously planned, the march followed Wilson’s announcement that it had fired three officers, including two who posed for a photo recreating a chokehold near a memorial to McClain and a third officer who received the picture, that mocked the 23-year-old’s death.
That officer, Jason Rosenblatt, was one of three implicated in McClain’s death, despite the fact that he, Woodyard, and Roedema had previously been cleared of wrongdoing. All three were taken off the road last month for their own safety, police said.
Peaceful protest into the night
When night fell on Friday, the protest was peaceful. Hundreds of people were scattered outside the station, sitting on the lawn and sidewalk and playing music. The organizers encouraged people to invite their friends to come down and said they weren’t going anywhere.
As of 10 p.m., Aurora police had still not shown any violence. Throughout the evening, the department tweeted regularly that the demonstrators “remain peaceful in District 1”.
Shortly after 11 p.m., Wilson spoke to one of the Party’s Socialism and Liberation protest leaders on a phone call that was partially broadcast over the group’s megaphone. Commenting on the protesters’ demands, Wilson said, “I do not have the power to fire these officers.”
Aurora police waited until 2:30 in the morning to order the crowd to disperse and announced in a tweet: “Warning: #APDOccupation. They are blocking access to this building. You have been instructed to leave the immediate vicinity of the building and go to the south side of Montview. Please go away neatly and peacefully. “
Half an hour later, the department tweeted, “The officers are trying to regain access to our building. The protesters set off fireworks and throw things. “
Aurora police attacked protesters but did not use pepper spray, as protesters did last weekend, according to Denver 7News. At around 4:30 a.m., 7News reported, the situation appeared to be under control when police ordered the remaining protesters to leave the area.
“Elijah McClain is important”
Rashad Williams, one of the protesters, said he lived down the street from where McClain – who had not committed a crime – was stopped by police when he responded to a suspect’s report.
“I’m here because Black is important and Elijah McClain is important,” he said. “It could have been me. It has to stop. “
Elizabeth Hernandez, The Denver Post
Protesters calling for the officers involved in Elijah McClain’s death last year to be sacked gather outside Ward 1 of the Aurora Police Department on Friday, July 3, 2020.
He also said he got sick from the photo of the Aurora cops reenacting the chokehold used on McClain. “It’s hard to imagine that people lack compassion or empathy for a lost life to make fun of a lost life.”
Pamela Howard said she marched because she had a 19-year-old son and could have lost his life.
“I can’t rest. I can’t have peace. I can’t be okay until his killers are arrested, ”she said. “He didn’t do anything wrong. He needs justice. I wish we had done this a long time ago. “
More videos from @ehernandez of Elijah McClain protesters outside Aurora PD District 1 station pic.twitter.com/FiG4LKzqzt
– Matt Sebastian (@mattsebastian) July 4, 2020
The Friday night march comes as McClain’s death last August – after being choked by police and injected with the heavy sedative ketamine by paramedics – became part of the national push for racial justice and police reform following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis is.
Protesters gathered outside Aurora Police Department headquarters last weekend, where riot police used pepper spray to push back protesters – a move that has been heavily criticized and defended by police officers.
For the past few weeks, Governor Jared Polis has been tapping the attorney general’s investigation into the death, and the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Colorado, and the Justice Department have publicly confirmed they’ve been investigating the case since last year to see if it was one State Acts Civil Rights Investigation Is Justified.
The city of Aurora is also preparing to hire a new investigator to restart their independent investigation into the department’s actions.