DENVER (CBS4) – Activists from Louisville, Kentucky will demonstrate alongside Coloradans in their fight for justice for Elijah McClain on Saturday. They say they are reciprocating support given to them by Colorado activists in rallies for justice for Breonna Taylor.
The Say Their Names rally is scheduled from 5 p.m.- 8 p.m. at the Colorado State Capitol in Denver.
McClain was arrested by Aurora police on Aug. 24, 2019 after someone reported a suspicious person walking with a mask on. Police questioned McClain, who was walking home from a convenient store and had not committed a crime. A fight broke out when officers tried to restrain McClain.
They placed him in a now-banned carotid control hold (chokehold), and paramedics injected him with 500 mg of ketamine to sedate him. McClain suffered cardiac arrest in the ambulance. He was pulled off of life support on Aug. 30, 2019.
Protesters have called on Aurora officials to fire the officers who arrested McClain and still remain on the job. There are also calls for accountability regarding Aurora Fire Rescue, whose firefighters administered the ketamine to McClain, and Falck Rocky Mountain ambulance services, which provided the sedative.
Twenty activists from Kentucky will protest police brutality and abuses of power on Saturday. They will also demand change in police culture and training.
“We want gratitude always, and that’s really what this weekend is about, gathering in gratitude to really be Elijah McClain’s life. To be who he was. Not to just say his dying words, but to be who he was as a human being in real time,” said Candace Bailey, and organizer.
“The police need to learn how to interact and approach people the right way. They’re afraid of us, so they don’t know how to respond,” stated Tyra Walker, an activist from Kentucky, in a news release.
McClain’s mother was in attendance at Saturday’s event. She says an event on Sunday, Elijah’s Walk Home, was “turning into a three-ring circus.” The family has since canceled the event.
There are at least five ongoing investigations into what lead to McClain’s death and into the Aurora Police Department.
Organizers will also focus on civic education. State and local officials are scheduled to speak to the crowd.
The African American Initiative of Colorado Democrats is hosting a voter registration drive at the time of the rally.