About 1,000 people gather for a candlelight and floral vigil for Elijah McClain

People brought flowers, art, candles and signs to Utah Park in Aurora

Flowers placed for Elijah McClain during a vigil in Aurora on July 11, 2020

Alannah Bradley places flowers at a memorial during a candlelight and floral vigil for Elijah McClain on July 11, 2020, at Utah Park in Aurora, Colo.

(Alyson McClaran for Denverite)
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On a hot Saturday evening, people brought flowers, art, signs and candles to Utah Park in Aurora, to remember Elijah McClain and call for justice for his death in police custody last year.

Elijah McClain vigil July 11, 2020

Sheneen McClain cries and is supported by others during a memorial for her son, Elijah McClain, on July 11, 2020, at Utah Park in Aurora, Colo.

(Alyson McClaran for Denverite)

The event, billed as a candlelight and floral vigil, started at 5 p.m. As people honored McClain, they quietly took in a memorial that has built up for him, and shared their emotions over his death and the lack of accountability for how it happened. The vigil was organized by We Shall Overcome Now!.

Flower memorial at a vigil for Elijah McClain in Aurora on July 11, 2020

Erin Bovard places flowers at a memorial during a candlelight and floral vigil for Elijah McClain on July 11, 2020, at Utah Park in Aurora, Colo.

(Alyson McClaran for Denverite)

McClain died in August 2019 after someone called the police, alleging he was “sketchy.” Aurora police placed him in a chokehold and EMTs injected him with ketamine as a sedative, rendering him unconscious. He died later in the hospital.

Candles and flowers for Elijah McClain Vigil

Candles, art, posters and flowers were placed at the memorial for Elijah McClain on July 11, 2020, at Utah Park in Aurora, Colorado.

(Alyson McClaran for Denverite)

Officers were cleared of wrongdoing but the matter is newly under investigation at the state level. There is also an ongoing federal inquiry into McClain’s death.

Fists in the air during a vigil for Elijah McClain on July 11, 2020, in Aurora

Alice Hayes holds a Black Lives Matter flag as she puts her fist in the air during a candlelight and floral vigil for Elijah McClain on July 11, 2020, at Utah Park in Aurora, Colo.

(Alyson McClaran for Denverite)

Questions about his death and calls for justice have resurfaced as local and national demonstrations continue against police violence and racism. Tonight, as people gathered in Aurora, other vigils for McClain were scheduled to take place the same night in Chicago and in West Orange, New Jersey.

Candles and flowers for Elijah McClain Vigil

Denver School Board Director Tay Anderson speaks during the floral and candlelight vigil for Elijah McClain on July 11, 2020, at Utah park in Aurora, Colorado.

(Alyson McClaran for Denverite)
A flower and candlelight vigil for Elijah McClain in Aurora on July 11, 2020

Kate Newton, left, and Taylor Bergeron bought flowers to place at the memorial during a candlelight and floral vigil for Elijah McClain on July 11, 2020, at Utah Park in Aurora, Colo.

(Alyson McClaran for Denverite)
Candles and flowers for Elijah McClain Vigil

Original founder of We Shall Overcome, Now!, Ebeny Grant West, holds Sheneen McClain, mother of Elijah, during a floral and candlelight vigil at Utah Park on July 11, 2020, in Aurora, Colorado.

(Alyson McClaran for Denverite)

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