Two separate incidents involving Aurora, Colorado police in the wake of Elijah McClain’s death are drawing necessary criticism.
Colorado police are being called out after a peaceful protest for Elijah McClain had a violent end. Organizers of a violin vigil for Elijah McClain, the unarmed 23-year-old black man who died after being put in a neck hold and injected with ketamine in Aurora police custody, say things were calm—-until police popped up.
While wearing riot gear (for a violin vigil?) police confronted protesters who were honoring the young man who played the instrument for stray kittens so they “wouldn’t get lonely.” According to authorities, they were hit with rocks and bottles by protestors who armed themselves with sticks—so they had to use tear gas to break things up.
Eyewitnesses shared videos of authorities pushing protestors and being aggressive. No rocks and bottles are seen being thrown.
FOX 31 reports that Coloroda state Rep. Leslie Herod called out police for their aggression.
“If you’re not upset by what happened in Aurora than you’re not paying attention,” said Herod while calling on Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman to address the use of pepper spray by police.
Mari Newman, a lawyer for Elijah’s family, told TMZ that she was on hand for the vigil with Elijah’s two younger sisters and the police’s “brutal” response was completely outrageous. She noted that protesters were chanting near the police station, but nothing was thrown at cops.
The tear gas deployment comes amid a new report that three Aurora officers were put on paid administrative leave (SMH) after being photographed at a memorial for Elijah taking egregiously inappropriate photos.
CBS Denver’s Brian Maass reports three officers were last week after they were shown in the photos reenacting the carotid restraint that was used on McClain:
Are. You. F****. Serious?!
The department’s interim police chief, Vanessa Wilson, released a statement on the matter late Monday night saying;
“Thursday afternoon, I was apprised of allegations reported to Internal Affairs by an Aurora Police Officer alleging multiple Aurora Police officers were depicted in photographs near the site where Elijah McClain died. All involved officers were immediately placed on administrative leave with pay in non-enforcement capacities.”
“I immediately ordered Internal Affairs to make this investigation their top priority,” said Wilson according to CBS. This accelerated investigation was completed this evening.
“This investigation will be publicly released in its entirety promptly upon its conclusion. This will include reports, photographic evidence obtained, officer’s names, and my final determination which can rise to the level of termination.”
How awful and abhorrent do you have to be to reenact something like that?! #JusticeForElijahMcClain