Mia Lamontagne chants in solidarity with other protesters demanding justice for Elijah McClain on July 25, 2020. The protest, which had originated at the Aurora Municipal Center, shut down I-225. Photos by Esteban Fernandez | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Justice for Elijah McClain protest at the Aurora Municipal Center on July 25 ended with three people seriously injured. For the majority of the night, it was a standard event. Speakers shared their stories of police brutality and remarks about McClain, who was killed by Aurora Police in August 2019. An estimated 1,000 people then set out on a march, blocking Interstate 225, prompting the chaos that has been widely reported on. A blue Jeep attempted to plow through the crowd blocking the highway but was thwarted by a white pickup truck. The driver of the truck “sacrificed” his car to protest the protesters in the road from being run over. While the Jeep sped down the road, someone in the crowd shot two protesters–eyewitnesses say those shots were aimed at the driver of the car. One woman was injured after she jumped or fell off a wall on the highway. The crowd again gathered at the municipal center after the chaos on the interstate. Organizers of the protest urged the crowd to disperse after it was apparent the event began to take a different, unintended turn. However, dozens of people stayed, smashing windows, ripping protected wood panels off buildings, setting off fireworks and attempting to start fires inside the Aurora courthouse building. The driver of the blue Jeep was identified but not arrested. Aurora police have stated that the investigations of this incident and the shooting are ongoing.
Although the overwhelming majority of protesters were not armed in any way, at least one or two people could be seen carrying firearms at the protest demanding justice for Elijah McClain.
Wall of Moms, a Portland-based group of female and gender non-binary activists that have become a staple at protests throughout the country, showed up to provide a wall shielding other activists at the Justice for Elijah McClain protests in Aurora.
Activist Terrence Roberts recalls his negative experiences dealing with police during his trial at which he was acquitted of first-degree murder charges to other activists who showed up to demand justice for Elijah McClain outside Aurora Police Headquarters. Speakers for the Denver chapter of the Party of Socialism and Liberation, which organized the event, noted that it has been 11 months since McClain died.
Songwriter Nathaniel Charter stood outside the Aurora Police Headquarters on Saturday during the Justice for Elijah McClain protest. Charter wrote a song for McClain in the wake of the young man’s death. “They murdered that young man as he praised them,” he said.
While encountering protesters on Interstate 225 while heading home, driver Cindy Vu recorded marchers as they passed by her car.
On Saturday, a blue Jeep attempted to drive through a group of protesters blocking Interstate 225. Sebastian Sassi, the driver of a white pickup truck, collided with the Jeep in order to prevent the vehicle from hitting the activists. Simultaneously, a shooting occurred in which it has been confirmed that two protesters were shot. Eyewitnesses said the protester with the gun had shot toward the vehicle. Aurora Police have released images of a “person of interest” in the shooting, and it is unclear if the driver of the Jeep will face charges. It has been reported that three people incurred serious injuries during the incident on the highway.