On July 4, community members held a “Violin Vigil” to honor the life of Elijah McClain, the 23-year-old Aurora, CO man who died in 2019 after police officers put him in a now-banned chokehold.
Speakers included Maplewood Mayor Frank McGehee, South Orange Village President Sheena Collum, Dr. Akil Khalfani, and more. Musicians, including jazz violinist and composer Zach Brock, performed.
Mr. McClain was a massage therapist and self-taught violinist who played for stray cats to soothe them. On Friday, three Aurora police officers were fired (and one resigned) over a photo that shows two of them smiling in a mocking reenactment of the death at the site of a memorial to McClain. Interim Police Chief Vanessa Wilson called the incident “a crime against humanity and decency.”