Aurora Police Add Another Chapter To Growing Police Mistrust Elijah McClain



Elijah McClain’s Death Brought to National Consciousness

Almost one year later, On June 3, 2020, Elijah McClain’s death was brought to national consciousness. Twenty-three-year-old Elijah McClain was walking home on August 24, 2019, from an Aurora, Colorado convenience store. He had purchased an iced tea for his brother. The Aurora Police Department got a call for a “suspicious-looking person” wearing a mask and waving his hands. Officers Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt, and Randy Roedema were dispatched to answer the call. The officers approached McClain, who resisted their advances. A struggle ensued, with one of the officers placing McClain in a carotid hold, rendering him temporarily unconscious. McClain was taken to a hospital, where he died five days later after being placed on life support.

Colorado Police Involved in Elijah McClain’s Death Reassigned

Not surprisingly, the three officers were not charged. It’s a sad state of affairs when society becomes numb to the possibility that police that wantonly kills unarmed civilians can receive total impunity. Another key point is that this incident has been kept private for almost a year. McClain’s death was brought to national consciousness only because of social media backlash in the aftermath of the George Floyd death last month, factored in with subsequent protests. As shown above, another episode of systemic racism in America.

Woodyard, Rosenblatt, and Roedema were reassigned to desk duties on June 13, amidst the surfacing of their involvement in McClain’s death. This was done for their own safety. McClain told the officers that he could not breathe after he was placed in the carotid hold. The APD made an interesting decision. The body camera footage by the officers of the incident wasn’t released until November 2019.  The footage contained conflicting statements. One officer on the scene claimed McClain was reaching for his gun. While another officer on the scene claimed McClain did nothing wrong. Bodycam footage should offer total transparency in situations like this. The exchange mentioned above does nothing to support that claim. The Black Lives Matter Movement is about a real change.

Violin Vigil Held to Honor McClain

The most telling chapter of McClain’s death focuses on protestors holding a peaceful violin vigil this past weekend on a lawn outside the Aurora Municipal Center. McClain was honored with a violin vigil. Elijah was a violin enthusiast who would play the violin for shelter kittens on his lunch break because he felt they were lonely. APD arrived on the scene in riot gear to disperse the peaceful protest. Apparently, APD has determined that violinists armed only with their instruments of passion instead of firearms are inherently dangerous. In this case, it was deemed dangerous enough to warrant having their vigil ended so abruptly. McClain’s death brought to national consciousness again.

Social media backlash is an effective method of action. On June 25, Colorado governor Jared Polis signed an executive order to appoint state attorney general Phil Weiser to investigate the case. Furthermore, if the officers involved are found to be criminally negligent in McClain’s death, they could face prosecution almost a year after the incident. While the investigation has yet to take place as of this writing, it is the first step in looking into the incident that took McClain’s life.

®Gregory Bradshaw – All Rights Reserved

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