Thousands gather in Aurora to protest Elijah’s McClain’s death, report.
The Aurora Police Department (APD) said tensions have calmed as demonstrations over the in-custody death of Elijah McClain stretch into the night.
The first of two demonstrations began at 1 p.m. at APD headquarters at the Aurora Municipal Center. The second protest followed at 4 p.m.
Just before 3 p.m., thousands of participants marched from Aurora Municipal Center, down Alameda and onto Interstate 225. After a closure of I-225 from Mississippi to 6th Avenue, it is now back open.
APD noted in a series of tweets Saturday afternoon that the demonstrations had been peaceful, but warned of a “small group of agitators.”
But the peacefulness didn’t last, as tension grew at the fence outside APD headquarters.
APD tweeted at around 7:45 p.m. that tensions remained high, and that orders to step off the fence and move back were not being followed. They urged protesters to remain peaceful. Anyone who crosses the fence at the APD entrance is subject to arrest, police warned.
At 8:16 p.m., APD tweeted that a small contingent of protesters were arming themselves with rocks and sticks and were continuing to ignore orders to move back, and police declared it an unlawful assembly.
APD announced via Twitter soon after that that members of the crowd were throwing rocks and bottles, and that officers had begun to use pepper spray. Peaceful protesters were urged to retreat to a parking lot near the library.
Riot police have advanced on protesters. I’ve seen pepper spray used on several people, including a camera crew. Lots of families were just arriving for the violin vigil. Police say protesters threw something at them which caused them to advance and clear the area #9News pic.twitter.com/A0xgboj2NX
— Marc Sallinger (@MarcSallinger) June 28, 2020
Soon after 9 p.m., APD tweeted that protesters had stopped throwing rocks, sticks and bottles at police officers and that tensions had calmed. Three people were taken into custody for violating lawful orders after warnings were given, APD said.
McClain, 23, was taken off life support on Aug. 30, 2019 – about a week after he went into cardiac arrest following a struggle with APD officers, who contacted him after receiving a call of a suspicious person in the area.
McClain’s family said he was walking to get an iced tea for his brother and would usually wear a face mask when it got cold outside.