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.
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!.
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.
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.
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.