Police in Colorado were seen walking into a peaceful protest to remember Elijah McClain wearing full riot gear and spraying protesters with pepper spray.
Aurora cops were seen marching into the protest, which included a violin performance to honor McClain’s memory.
It happened on Saturday in City Center Park where a musical vigil was being held.
Saturday’s demonstrations in Aurora began with a march and rally, followed by a youth-led protest and a violin vigil, pictured
A protest over the death of Elijah McClain quickly went from being peaceful to disorderly after Aurora police deployed pepper spray on protesters
Police wearing riot gear and shields called the protest an ‘unlawful assembly’ and began to disperse the crowd
Protester and violinist, Jukka Pawley, continues to play music to honor Elijah McClain, as Aurora police fire tear gas into the crowd behind him during a vigil in Aurora, Colorado
The scene was both surreal and chaotic as musicians continued to play their violins as protesters and police in riot gear closed in around them. Protester and violinist, Stephanie Gangemi, continues to play
Cops in Aurora came in like a military unit to forcibly remove and pepper spray peaceful protesters who were watching a violin performance to honor Elijah McClain
The Aurora PD warned on Twitter that they were planning to use pepper spray on protesters
The crowd posted pictures and video to social media which captured the bizarre sights
The presence of the police was sudden. At one point only the noise of the violinists could be heard before the police suddenly began storming the gathering to the crowd’s cries of ‘No!’.
On one recording, a woman can be heard yelling at the police to stop as officers in riot gear prepared to forcibly remove protesters out of the park and use pepper spray.
The protesters continued to stand their ground for as long as they could with some even forming a human chain around the violinists to protect them from police.
Police surrounded the protesters and musicians while they played but used pepper spray and batons to push them back
Police then deployed pepper spray after protesters threw rocks and bottles
A young boy plays the violin to honor Elijah McClain on Saturday afternoon at the protest
Jeff Hughes is pictured with his violin at the protest in Aurora, Colorado on Saturday
Protestors, Jukka Pawley (center) and Phil Arambula (right) play along with other violinists
As #Aurora municipal security forces lost patience with how long it was taking to illegally evict us from the #ElijahMcClain violin vigil, they began deploying chemical agents directly into protesters faces and at protesters that were fleeing while attempting to make arrests pic.twitter.com/ElDeu8Q4LD
— dula lipa (@dulapalooza) June 28, 2020
Marchers walked behind a banner reading, ‘Justice for Elijah McClain, murdered by Aurora police.’
Social media posts of the protests early Saturday afternoon showed crowds of people demonstrating peacefully while police forces stood by wearing tactical gear.
Some in the crowd chanted, ‘Why are you in riot gear? We don’t see no riot here.’
Those gathered were eventually forced into the parking lot where violinist and even singers then broke out into song.
It’s not clear why the police didn’t simply stand back.
Aurora PD say the crowd was getting unruly, some were arming themselves and throwing projectiles.
Police say three people were arrested for violating lawful orders after warnings were given.
One protester is pictures holding the bow of a violin in his mouth during the protest
Protester and violinist, Jeff Hughes, plays music to honor Elijah McClain
A protester holds up a violin that will be played to honor Elijah McClain
Valerie Reives plays the viola while protesters shine their mobile phone lights to honor Elijah McClain, who, when alive, would play his violin at animal shelters because he thought the kittens were lonely
McClain’s death last August has prompted a handful of small protests over the last 10 months, but his case has garnered renewed attention amid a global outcry sparked when George Floyd died under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer May 25.
One protester, 25-year-old Franklin Williams, came to show support and make sure the fervor continues.
‘This shouldn’t be a moment,’ Williams said. ‘This should be a movement.’
Police in Aurora responded to a call of a suspicious person wearing a ski mask and waving his arms as he walked down a street on August 24th, last year.
They say McClain refused to stop walking and fought back when officers confronted him and tried to take him into custody.
Hermela Goshu addresses the crowd at a protest against the death of Elijah McClain
Caitlin Zotigh raises a sign she painted herself with an image of Elijah McClain doing something he often did while alive, playing a violin, during a march in protest against his death
A woman sprays paint in the shape of a fist onto the shoulder of another woman using a cardboard stencil during a protest against the death of Elijah McClain and police injustice
‘I have a right to stop you because you’re being suspicious,’ an officer is heard on a body camera recording telling McClain.
The encounter happened as McClain, a certified massage therapist and self-taught violin player, was running an errand.
To subdue McClain, officers used a chokehold that cuts off blood to the brain – a tactic recently banned in several places in the wake of Floyd’s death. Paramedics arrived soon after and administered a sedative to calm McClain down.
McClain suffered cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and was later declared brain dead. He was taken off life support less than a week later.
In August 2019, 23-year-old Elijah McClain died following a confrontation with the police in the suburban Denver area after he suffered cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital
The Colorado governor has reopened the investigation into the death of Elijah McClain (pictured), who died after being placed in a chokehold by cops and sedated with ketamine
Pictured (left to right): Aurora Police Department officers Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt and Randy Roedema are at the center of revitalized calls to investigate the death of Elijah McClain
Three officers were placed on leave but returned to the force after District Attorney Dave Young said there was insufficient evidence to support charging them.
Governor Jared Polis on Thursday ordered prosecutors to reopen the investigation.
Police in Aurora issued a statement Saturday before the event began saying they support a peaceful protest and warning of ‘outsiders’ with destructive goals. Protest organizers said the police response was concerning.
‘The Aurora Police Department has responded by circulating rumors of a `violent threat´ in order to intimidate organizers and attendees and to justify mobilizing a militarized police response to crack down on protesters,’ the Party for Socialism and Liberation said in a statement posted to Facebook.
People protest the death of Elijah McClain and police injustice in Aurora earlier on Saturday