New protests in Denver over Elijah McClain's death from a chokehold by police last year
Now we can have one more icon of police brutality. Elijah McClain, who died in the police custody last August forced thousands of people to take to the streets in Denver and gather outside a suburban Denver police building. A 23-year-old innocent African-American man was killed after the cops used the same vile chokehold on him.
As much as it’s been almost a year since McClain’s death, in the wake of protests over George Floyd’s death, new light falls on this case and the people are demanding justice. Three officers were placed on administrative leave and there were no charges filed against them. They returned to serve after District Attorney Dave young stated that there was no insufficient evidence for charging them.
However, on Thursday, Gov. Jared Polis ordered prosecutors to reopen the investigation.
Recall, that McClain was murdered in August 2019 after the police officers responded to a 911 call reporting of a suspicious man wearing a ski mask. Later, his mother would explain that he had anemia which caused his body to feel unusual cold. He was coming home from a convenience store when the officer stopped him saying, “I have a right to stop you because you’re being suspicious.” This word can be heard on the officer’s bodycam video.
McClain defied the cop’s order and tried to fight back when the officers tried to detain him. Eventually, one of the cops used the chokehold to keep McClain on the ground. The video also has the moment when McClain can be heard saying already an iconic phrase, “I can’t breathe.”
No criminal activity was witnessed, McClain didn’t muddle. The bodycam video shows the officers didn’t even question him or trying to find out who he is and what he was doing. It can be heard the cop repeatedly ordering McClain to “turn around” as if he was going to handcuff him. For nothing.
“Stop tensing up!” the officer repeats while McClain is trying to release.
It was 25 seconds since the cops approached McClain and began using physical force. All this time the man was trying to explain to them that he was innocent.
“I was just going home,” McClain said already being face down on the ground with an officer using a chokehold on him.
Paramedics arrived soon after and administered a sedative to calm McClain down. McClain suffered a cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and was later declared brain dead. Less than a week after, he was taken off life support and passed away.
And now, a year after, the Denver Chapter of the Party for Socialism and Liberation organized the demonstration that took place on Saturday. The protest was peaceful and soon was followed by a youth-led protest and a violin vigil. McClain was a massage therapist who also loved to play violin.
One of the protestors said,
“This shouldn’t be a moment.”
Some in the crowd chanted, “Why are you in riot gear? We don't see no riot here.”