AURORA, Colo. — A group of those protesting the in-custody death of Elijah McClain on Saturday night tore down a fence, broke out windows and caused other damage at the Aurora Municipal Center.
The majority of those who participated in demonstrations were peaceful. After protesters gathered about 5 p.m., they marched from the Municipal Center to Interstate 225 and blocked the roadway for a time. A protester shot at a vehicle that drove through the crowd; two people were injured, police said.
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About 9 p.m., a group returned to Aurora Police Department (APD) headquarters and "decided to hijack the message," according to APD. At that point, police ordered the group to disperse.
A 9NEWS crew saw some people yank on a metal fence near APD Headquarters until the fence came down, and then throw objects and shoot fireworks at officers. They also tore down wooden coverings over windows and broke windows on the courthouse.
At one point, a fire started inside an office at the courthouse and was extinguished without spreading anywhere else in the building, APD said.
The group began to leave by 10 p.m., police said. APD said no one was arrested and officers didn't use any less-lethal munitions.
On Sunday morning, a police spokesperson said more than 20 windows on the courthouse were broken and also that numerous light posts in a courtyard area were smashed. The spokesman said it'll take a few days to determine the cost of the damage.
Demonstrators in Aurora have protested and held vigils for McClain several times over the past few months.
McClain died Aug. 27, 2019 – three days after he went into cardiac arrest after a confrontation with Aurora officers. He was detained after a report of a “suspicious person” in the area. McClain’s family said he had been walking to the store and would usually wear a face mask when it got cold outside.
Officers used a carotid hold on McClain and first responders later gave him ketamine, a sedative. He went into cardiac arrest in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. A coroner’s report found his cause of death inconclusive, and the 17th District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges against the officers involved.
The City of Aurora is hiring a team to complete an independent investigation into McClain's death. Gov. Jared Polis also issued an executive order directing Colorado's attorney general to investigate the case.
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