On Wednesday 15thJuly, supporters of Orkney Oot Wae Racism will be taking the knee at 6pm, and remembering Elijah McClain.
For several weeks now Orcadians have taken part in door step protests highlighting individuals for the Black Lives Matter Campaign. On Wednesday 8th of July it was veteran paratrooper Christopher Alder. Orkney Remembers Christopher Alder #BlackLivesMatter
Who was Elijah McClain?
Elijah was a 23-year-old African-American massage therapist from Aurora, Colorado who was killed after an encounter with police while walking home on the evening of August 24, 2019.
An Aurora citizen reported to police that Elijah was wearing a ski mask and acting “sketchy”, although the caller also indicated that he did not believe anyone was in danger, and that he believed McClain was unarmed.
The three police officers who were involved in the incident, Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt and Randy Roedema, said that their body cameras were knocked off during a struggle with him.
While he was being forcibly held to the ground by police, paramedics administered ketamine to sedate him. While being transported to the hospital, Elijah suffered a cardiac arrest and he died seven days later after being removed from life support. The autopsy into his death was inconclusive.
By June 25, more than three million people had signed the petition demanding an independent investigation into McClain’s death and on that date Governor Jared Polis appointed a special prosecutor to investigate McClain’s death. He also signed an executive order directing the Attorney General to investigate and possibly prosecute the officers involved.
Polis said in a statement:
“Elijah McClain should be alive today, and we owe it to his family to take this step and elevate the pursuit of justice in his name to a statewide concern.”
On June 29, the interim police chief announced that multiple officers had been placed on administrative leave and were under investigation after photos of them surfaced that had been taken near the site where McClain died. The photos, taken in October 2019, show police officers posing inappropriately and re-enacting the carotid restraint used on McClain before his death.
In July, three officers were fired from the department in relation to the photos, while one officer resigned. At a news conference acting police chief Vanessa Wilson said:
“While the allegations of this internal affairs case are not criminal, they are a crime against humanity and decency. To even think about doing such a thing is beyond comprehension and it is reprehensible.”
Elijah McClains last words, taken from the body cam footage before it stopped working, were;
“I can’t breathe. I have my ID right here. My name is Elijah McClain. That’s my house. I was just going home. I’m an introvert, I’m different. I’m just different, that’s all. I’m so sorry. I have no gun. I don’t do that stuff. I don’t do any fighting. Why are you attacking me? I don’t even kill flies! I don’t eat meat! But I don’t judge people, I don’t judge people who do eat meat. Forgive me. All I was trying to do was become better. I will do it. I will do anything. Sacrifice my identity, I’ll do it. You all are phenomenal. You are beautiful and I love you. Try to forgive me. I’m a mood Gemini. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. Ow, that really hurt. You are all very strong. Teamwork makes the dream work.”
You then hear him vomit, and then apologise to the Police, saying
“Oh, I’m sorry I wasn’t trying to do that, I just can’t breathe correctly.”
Orkney Oot Wae Racism is asking people to take photographs of themselves with their placards, post them on social media and then send to the group via Messenger on the Facebook page so they can be shared wider.
Facebook: Orkney Oot Wae Racism
Twitter: Orkney Oot Wae Racism
They also have a poster which can be downloaded here: Orkney Stands Wae Black Lives Matter Poster
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