A peaceful musical vigil for black 23-year-old massage therapist and violinist Elijah McClain was held at Chicago’s Oz Park on Saturday 11 July 2020.
String players took to the park to perform Over The Rainbow and to remember the young man, who died last August less than a week after being put in a carotid hold by police in Aurora, Colorado, despite committing no crime. ’This is an opportunity for musicians to raise their voices in a peaceful way,’ said a protester.
McClain, who had taught himself to play the violin, was tackled by police and placed in a choke-hold, while walking home from a convenience store. Soon afterwards, paramedics administered 500 milligrams of the sedative, Ketamine, to calm McClain down. Less than a week later, he died of a cardiac arrest. However, Colorado District Attorney Dave Young said that he could not prove beyond reasonable doubt that the officers’ actions caused McClain’s death, and that charges against them could therefore not be pressed.
The Chicago vigil was in stark contrast to a musical protest held in Aurora’s City Center Park at the end of June, which was interrupted by riot police, who deployed pepper spray and foam munitions.