One Year Ago, Elijah McClain Was Detained, Put in a Chokehold by Police, Sedated as he Walked Home From the Store – He Died Days Later

Elijah McClain was Returning Home from a Trip to the Store to buy an Iced Tea  in Aurora, Colorado on August 24, 2019 When he was Detained by Police – Their Aggressive Treatment of This 23-year-old led to His Death

In Late June at Washington Square Park, a beautiful Violin Vigil took place for Elijah McClain – McClain Would Often Play his Violin for Shelter Animals


A comprehensive piece that explains the events leading up to the death of Elijah McClain via The Cut [excerpt]:

Body-cam footage of the arrest does exist, although the ADP did not release it to the public until late November, months after McClain’s death. In the footage, an officer can be heard admitting McClain had done nothing illegal prior to his arrest; another accuses McClain of reaching for one of their guns. McClain, meanwhile, can be heard asking the officers to stop, explaining that they started to arrest him as he was “stopping [his] music to listen.” He gasps that he cannot breathe. He tells them his name, says he has ID but no gun, and pleads that his house is “right there.” He sobs, and vomits, and apologizes: “I wasn’t trying to do that,” he says. “I just can’t breathe correctly.” One of the officers can also be heard threatening to set his dog on McClain if he “keep[s] messing around,” and claiming he exhibited an extreme show of strength when officers tried to pin back his arms.

Very little of the officers’ protocol can be seen, however, because all of their body cams allegedly fell off during the arrest. But if you watch the video from about the 15-minute mark (warning: the footage contains violent and upsetting content), you’ll see someone pick up the body camera and point it toward McClain and one of the officers, before dropping it back into the grass. Around 15:34, one of the officers seems to say, “Leave your camera there.”

On June 25, Colorado governor Jared Polis signed an executive order to appoint the state’s attorney general, Phil Weiser, to investigate the case and, if the facts support prosecution, “criminally prosecute any individuals whose actions caused the death of Elijah McClain.”

“I was moved by speaking with Elijah’s mother and her description of her son as a responsible and curious child … who could inspire the darkest soul,” Polis said in a statement. “Elijah McClain should be alive today, and we owe it to his family to take this step and elevate the pursuit of justice in his name to a statewide concern.”

Elijah McClain plays violin to shelter cats
Elijah McClain playing his violin to shelter cats

Elijah McClain was a kind, gentle soul who did nothing to warrant this aggressive detainment and the events that followed. Things have to change.

But the vigil at the park in late June showed yet again how people come together creatively and beautifully even in the face of the saddest situation.

To date, no one has been held accountable for Elijah McClain’s death.
Elijah McClain vigil Washington Square Park 2020

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You can read this 8/23 Denver Post piece: The world knows his name now: One year later, how Elijah McClain’s death impacted his friends and catalyzed a movement

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