Class action lawsuit filed after police involvement in Elijah McClain violin celebration

Problem Solvers

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — The attorney who represents Elijah McClain’s family, Mari Newman, has filed a class action lawsuit in federal court against the City of Aurora and several other individual officers and police leaders because of the heavy police response during a demonstration in honor of McClain’s life last month.

“Aurora again resorted to bullying and violence during a violin vigil that was held on June 27, 2020, to honor Elijah and call for justice for his murder,” the suit says.

“We are filing that lawsuit to align with the police reformation that we’re seeking,” said Thomas Mayes, who is named as a plaintiff and sits on the City’s new police task force. “An apology is not enough,” he said. 

Police responded to the area with pepper spray, smoke bombs, and 40mm foam rounds to disperse the crowd. The police chief previously defended officers and pointed out that some agitators were throwing objects, including rocks, at officers.

Mayes said the main thing that disturbed him at the scene of the McClain vigil was that people were not given enough time to disperse from the scene and some people didn’t even hear the announcement to move away from the area. “Within less than five minutes (police) fired what they say now is just smoke…and pepper spray.”

“There were many, many people there who were doing the right thing and protesting peacefully, but there were a faction of agitators that came with pipes and sticks and helmets and gas masks and face shields,” Chief Vanessa Wilson previously told the FOX31 Problem Solvers after the June protest.

At that time, Wilson also said she believed the officers behaved lawfully.

“I’m sure that people were confused, and a lot of people of people saying, ‘No,’ when they saw the riot police, and I understand that, and I sympathize with that. But it really was us trying to separate that peaceful group from the people that were coming with and throwing rocks and creating havoc,” Wilson said last month.

Wilson is also named in the suit.

Problem Solvers is currently reviewing the lawsuit. This story will be updated shortly.

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