By Jeff Todd

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. (CBS4) – The news of a 32-count indictment came as a bit of a surprise for Piper Rundell. The charges come more than a year after she started an online petition to demand justice for Elijah McClain.

“It makes me really emotional to think that no matter where this case leads, Elijah is still dead, which is really saddening and really impactful,” Rundell said.

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Elijah McClain

Elijah McClain (credit: CBS)

Rundell’s mother was a customer at the Massage Envy in Greenwood Village where McClain worked. After the encounter that lead to his death, coworkers shared the news with clients.

After the death of George Floyd, Rundell couldn’t stop thinking about McClain’s case.

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“I decided to start a petition of my own to hopefully get some justice for Elijah,” she said. “It went from 100 signers to 10,000 to 100,000 and then we were in the millions, and it was mind blowing.”

(credit: CBS)

The petition is now approaching 6 million signatures. Rundell says it’s allowed her to become involved in the case and meet with attorney’s representing McClain’s family, and even a conversation with his mother, Sheneen.

The volume of signatures surely played a role in getting new investigations opened.

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“I take no credit. It’s all these people that care. They’re the ones that made this happen. I think that without all those people putting pressure on the people who needed to hear it we wouldn’t be here today,” Rundell said. “It means a lot that people are recognizing that people need to be held accountable, no matter who they are, for what they’ve done.”

Jeff Todd