AURORA, Colo. — A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed against the City of Aurora and its former Police Chief Vanessa Wilson regarding the treatment of protesters by police at a violin vigil event honoring the life of Elijah McClain in June 2020.
The settlement in the case that included five plaintiffs was reached on Feb. 6. The city paid $750,000 to the protestors.
Several officers, who were listed as Jane Does and John Does, were also named in the lawsuit.
Aurora "resorted to bullying and violence," according to the lawsuit, at the June 27 event which was held to honor McClain and call for justice for his death.
McClain died on Aug. 27, 2019 – three days after he went into cardiac arrest following 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 to get iced tea, 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 Judicial District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges against the officers involved.
> Above video: Aurora PD interim chief defends use of force at Elijah McClain June 27, 2020 protest
The lawsuit claims organizers received permission from the City of Aurora to hold a peaceful night of remembrance on the Aurora Municipal Center Great Lawn.
During the event, which the suit says was "completely peaceful," APD declared the protest "unlawful."
They then, according to the lawsuit, directed a "coordinated force" of officers from multiple agencies to "march toward the peaceful crowd in a totally unjustified show of intimidation."
Under the direction of APD, the officers "indiscriminately deployed chemical agents," the lawsuit claims. It said some "even wielded batons and shot projectiles."
Several days after the vigil, Wilson defended the officers' actions.
At the time, she said officers were trying to protect the peaceful protesters from others who attended the event and were armed with rocks and other weapons.
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