JARRING footage shows the moment a violin vigil for Elijah McClain was stormed by riot police who pepper sprayed protesters.
Cops pushed their way into the memorial to the 23-year-old black musician who died after being put in a chokehold by cops last year.
Protesters played violins inAurora, Colorado’s Center City Park on Saturday[/caption]
Police in riot gear appeared to push their way towards the rioters – and as protesters appear to fight back[/caption]
What started out as a peaceful protest for Elijah quickly became chaotic as police descended on the vigil in Aurora’s City Center Park in Colorado.
Violins were played because, Elijah was reportedly a soft, introverted soul who “played violin for kittens.”
Mark Sallinger with 9News shared a series of videos and photos to Twitter on Saturday, and wrote next to one video: “As police in riot gear were spraying protesters with pepper spray and using batons to push them back at the #ElijahMcClain protest in Aurora today, this man began playing the violin.
“One of the most surreal scenes I’ve ever seen. Music is powerful.”
The footage showed a violinist playing The Way It Is by Bruce Hornsby and the Range, a song which was sampled by Tupac Shakur’s Changes, as riot police surround the demonstrators who appeared to be peaceful.
Elijah McClain suffered a heart attack as a result of a police encounter in 2019[/caption]
A protester appears to hold his hands over his head as he stands in front of police[/caption]
However, Sallinger explained that the protesters had “moved the fence barrier blocking Aurora PD headquarters” – which had ultimately provoked the officers to make their way forward.
Police confirmed to 9 News that “smoke was used to try and encourage people to move to the safe area.”
In another tweet, a photo showed police officers in a line on one side of a fence and protesters on the other.
Sallinger wrote: “An officer just came over the loudspeaker saying they have declared the protest an unlawful assembly.”
Protesters, some playing violins, stand across from police[/caption]
Pepper spray had reportedly been used by a few different cops.
According to CBS4, cops in riot gear had been placed outside the fenced-off police station.
Police had previously warned that anyone who crossed the fence at a specific point could be arrested
Officers later tweeted: “Aurora Police Department did not use tear gas last night during the protest.
“The reports that we used tear gas are FALSE.
“Pepper spray was used after a small group of people gathered rocks/sticks, knocked over a fence, & ignored orders to move back. Tear gas was not used.”
Most videos shared to twitter appeared to show a peaceful protest before police arrived.
“Aurora PD breaking up the peaceful violin vigil for the very kid they murdered. #ElijahMclain,” one Twitter use wrote.
The social media user shared a video as someone is heard repeatedly say “No..no” as the video captured dozens of police walking in a line towards the protesters.
The protests come nearly a year after, McClain’s death – which Twitter users claim his last words were: “I’m an introvert. I’m just different that’s all. I’m so sorry. I don’t have a gun. I don’t do that stuff.
“All I was trying to do was become better. I’ll do it…You all are phenomenal.
“You are beautiful. And I love you. Try to forgive me. I’m sorry.”
McClain ended up falling into a coma, and three days later, he was pronounced dead.
His death was similar to that of George Floyd, who prosecutors say was suffocated by a Minneapolis police officer on Memorial Day.
His case has not received extensive media coverage but the Black Lives Matter movement is demanding justice.
The hashtag #JusticeforElijahMcClain is circulating on Twitter, calling for a re-investigation into the case.
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Meanwhile, McClain’s mom wants the cops held “accountable” as the Colorado Governor reopens a probe into the controversial death of the 23-year-old.
During an interview with TMZ, Sheneen McClain said that she feels “hopeless” despite the investigation into her son’s death being reopened.
“The only thing that would make me feel better about as a mom would them to have life in prison and those that watched are the police officers that did not deescalate, they need to lose their jobs and never become…” Sheneen said.
“It needs to be a felony on their record… because of the profession that they’re in.”
On Thursday, Governor Jared Polis announced that Elijah’s case will be reexamined.
The protests come nearly a year after, McClain’s death[/caption]
Violinists play in memory of Elijah McClain[/caption]