Aurora City Council presses interim police chief over protest response during special meeting

Aurora City Council presses interim police chief over protest response during special meeting

Interim Chief Vanessa Wilson did apologize for the chaos that ensued after police dressed in riot gear surrounded people participating in a violin vigil. AURORA, Colo. — At a special Aurora City Council meeting Tuesday held virtually, Aurora Interim Police Chief Vanessa Wilson defended her department’s use of force against what she called a small group of "agitators" that showed up to the protest the 2019 death of Elijah McClain on Saturday. Police have said that a group of protesters was throwing rocks and water bottles at officers. Wilson also apologized for the chaos that ensued after police dressed in riot gear surrounded people on Saturday participating in a violin vigil for McClain – the 23-year-old was pronounced dead on Aug. 27, 2019, a few days after he went into cardiac arrest following a struggle with Aurora Police officers who contacted him after receiving a call of a suspicious person in the area. Wilson said her goal was to protect the peaceful protesters that had gathered to play instruments from a separate group of protesters that police say became violent toward officers. "I failed to communicate with that group what was going on," said Wilson. "That’s on me. I should have let them know what the intent was." Wilson defended her department’s use of pepper spray, less-lethal weapons, and batons to clear protesters from the Aurora Municipal Center where the protest was taking place. Police say they gave dozens of warnings to protesters to leave the area, including declaring the protest an "unlawful assembly ...
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