Jul 3, 2020
Elijah McClain Family Press Conference Transcript After Police Officers Fired for Controversial Photo
Family, friends, activists, attorneys, and supporters of Elijah McClain’s family gathered at his memorial on July 3 and held a press conference. They spoke about the Aurora Police Department firing 3 police officers involved in a controversial photo taken at the McClain memorial site. Read the press conference transcript here.
Transcribe Your Own Content
Try Rev for free and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.
Speaker 1: (00:02)
What we are seeing today is the same thing that the Aurora Police Department has continually done. It is a Friday release, they give Miss. McClain less than an hour or two or three to be able to even ingest the atrocities. This is a secondary form of attack on our community. We are here today because they are attempting to silence our community. Our community is not going to be silenced, we will not be silenced. We stand for Sheneen McClain in solidarity, we are here to protect the interest of this family and our community. Our safety is at risk every single day. The tactics that are being used are white supremacy tactics, let us not be fooled. Aurora does not approve. We have said over and over and over, this is not what we believe, this is not the culture, the character, nor the moral of the Aurora citizens. They are murdering us, they are hiding it with a DA that continues to sweep murder, after murder, after rape, after murder under the rug because he, in fact, is a murderer himself.
Speaker 1: (01:27)
Today we have watched the orchestration of the worst atrocity in our city continuing to be replayed, it is now being videotaped. It is being put all over the universe to see and yet they hide their hands and yet they make excuses. There is not an excuse, there will be no more excuses, time is up APD, time is up. We have had enough, there will be no more. If you refuse to do your job that you still contractually have to do in the City of Aurora, we’re taking your money, we are defunding you. We do not need you, we do not. We do not need murderers calling themselves protectors because you are not and that’s who you played yourself to be.
Speaker 1: (02:27)
We’re going to hear from just a few people today who are going to help you to understand some of the things that have happened in real time so that the narrative that’s being pushed out into the universe is actually the correct narrative, so that you understand the white supremacy that is happening in the City of Aurora. On today’s show, we are going to expose every corner of the shadow of the darkness, of the white supremacy that you are inflicting on our community. And we are standing, there is no more. Elijah McClain will have justice. If haha got Roseanne Barr fired, I want life in prison, I want life in prison for every one of them. And that has been our promise to Sheneen McClain. We want life in prison, they murdered and tortured him. And we will not stop until that happens.
Marie Newman: (03:36)
My name’s Marie Newman, I’m proud to represent the McClain family. I want to talk a little bit about white supremacy. A lot of you might be very familiar with the Jim Crow, South where white supremacists thought that it was amusing to take pictures of themselves next to bodies of lynched human beings, of brutal lynchings. And that is exactly what we have seen now today. What we have seen is pictures of Aurora police officers taking pictures, just like racists in the Jim Crow, South of atrocities and that is not acceptable. It’s not acceptable then and it’s not acceptable now.
Marie Newman: (04:16)
I was glad to see that those officers who took those photographs were fired, but they should have been fired long ago. Two of those three officers, you may know, were actually present while Elijah McClain was being murdered. Two of those officers stood idly by as their colleagues tackle the Elijah McClain, as they tortured him inflicting multiple different kinds of force over the course of 15 minutes. And I’m not just talking about the karate chokeholds, although there were two of those, but multiple kinds of force that killed a small young man who was entirely peaceful, who had done nothing wrong, who was trying to get home with a bottle of ice tea from the station down the street. And these officers who today we learned posted amusing photographs, because they thought it was just so darn funny to reenact the murder of a peaceful young man, have finally been fired. Now, they should be fired, of course, but all of the officers who were involved should be fired. And they should be fired and not able to be hired in any other department where they will continue to kill.
Marie Newman: (05:25)
The Aurora Police Department has a long assorted horrible history of both racism and brutality, that needs to stop today. And I hope that this is a sign that we will take no more. But I’ll tell you what I’m worried about, I was just informed that the Aurora Police Association decided that because the acting chief decided to actually fire somebody for a change, now they don’t support her as the acting chief. Now, I don’t know whether she’d be the best chief or not, but I do know this, when the Aurora Police Association withdraws its support of somebody because they finally stand up and fire officers who are brutal, who are racist, and who are re-enacting that racism, we know that we’ve got a police department and a police association that is rotten to the core.
Marie Newman: (06:27)
Now, my expectation is we’re going to have to go ahead and file that civil rights lawsuit because I’m told that although there are all kinds of independent investigations going on, I’ve been around too long to trust our government to protect us. I know that the way that people are able to attain some modicum of justice is through the federal civil rights system and that’s exactly what we intend to do. Now, I think that Aurora should stand up should take accountability, should do what’s right for a change. It’s not fair to drag a family through a year’s long and emotionally damaging process, that’s not right and Aurora should stand up. But if they don’t do it, we’re here, we’re not going away, I’m with his family for the long haul and I’m proud to be here. Now, a lot of people from the community who live here in Aurora want to tell you how they feel about the fact that they’re being policed by this brutal racist department, I’m going to step back and let them do that.
Speaker 3: (07:31)
I came here to specifically talk about trauma. Every time this happens, we re-traumatize a whole community. From the marches on Saturday, to having to be here in front of camera crews in the spot where her son’s life was taken, this is traumatic for her. And then I see these skies open up like they’re going to pour and rain on us, I think that’s probably Elijah’s soul letting us know what’s going on. During her press conference, she said that the officers took pictures in order to cheer up their friends. And I want to say how dare you?
Speaker 4: (08:10)
What the f*** is that?
Speaker 3: (08:12)
How dare you? She said it, it’s white supremacy. To cheer up your friend after he’s taken a life? You probably don’t need to be cheered up after that. You don’t need to be amongst people after that, you need to be in a jail cell for life like Miss Sheneen has requested. So we’re going to fight and we’re going to come at all angles. We’re going to come from community, we’re going to come from oversight committees, we’re going to come every blow, every which way we can until we get justice. And justice might look a lot for different people but together we stand for justice as a whole. We’re United for justice as a whole and we will get justice from the city of Aurora as a whole.
Speaker 5: (08:57)
Speaker 6: (09:05)
It’s a shame that you need to be out here today, but thank you for being out here. And we have just a moment to recognize the ground we’re on, the ground we’re on meaning intentionally, the ground that belongs to the spirits and the souls of the people who are indigenous and Arapahoe, their land. But also that those of you in the back, you’re standing where they killed a black boy. We see you up in your windows and we hope you never have to look down and see another murder. I’m having… This isn’t about me and yet it is, right? Because I’ve got a 23-year-old son so this is very personal to me. But it should be personal to you too.
Speaker 6: (09:41)
You’ve heard our colleagues and our friends talk about what justice looks like. We’ve heard the name Alashi, we’ve heard the name of the McClain family lifted up. I want to be intentional naming that this baby was a Mosley too. I know his family runs deep in this community and I know some of you are here too. Take a moment and send your love and your warmth to the McClain’s and the Mosley’s and to the people who’ve lost their baby. Sit with whatever God you believe in and pray that we don’t have to know your baby’s name.
Speaker 6: (10:10)
When we talk about what justice looks like, and I see this on the signs, she’s told you she doesn’t owe us anything, she does not owe us anything, we owe her, we owe her. So when she tells us to come out at three o’clock on a holiday afternoon, we come out. And that she tells us to come out tomorrow, we come out. And if she tells us that she wants these killers in a cage, then that’s what you lobby for. But it’s so important, it’s so important that as we lobby for justice for her baby, for the Mosley’s baby, for the McClain’s baby, for Elijah McClain, say his name, you-all.
Speaker 6: (10:48)
Say his name.
Speaker 6: (10:51)
Just saw journalists say you snuck, you didn’t mean to, but I saw it.
Speaker 5: (10:53)
I saw it too.
Speaker 6: (10:55)
That baby, that name, as we lift it up, think really and be intentional in thinking about what justice for him looks like. We need to recognize those pictures were taken in October. It’s not about a couple of bad apples you-all because bad apples come from rotten trees. We didn’t need all of those cops to be good cops, we needed one of them to be a good cop. We didn’t need all of them to do the right thing, we needed one of them to do the right thing in August or October or March. The idea that one resigned because he got caught in a photo, that’s somehow shameful on a next-level way. They stood by and they let this happen. And all of that goes when I say be intentional about what justice looks like, you can not reform your way out of this, we not reform our way out of this.
Speaker 6: (11:43)
People who tell you they want criminal justice reform in this system right now, they want kinder, gentler policing. No, we want no policing, there is no such thing as a good cop if this can happen on this ground again and again. I keep seeing your sign and it hurts. Before I pass this to my brother T Rob, I want to implore you, invite you to consider when we’re thinking about what justice looks like, it means changing laws, it means passing bills that outlaw things like chokeholds and shooting folks in the back. But it means dismantling all of their shit, all of it has to go, all of it has to go. That means you defund, that means you turn out, that means we take back our streets, we’re going to do it tonight, we take back our seats.
Speaker 6: (12:36)
I see elected officials out here who aren’t going to speak up because they know that this is the time for them to be here and listen. We love you and we thank you and we see you, we see you, but the city council needs to look like us, we don’t need more black cops, but we do need more black elected officials. And we need black elected officials who represent our best interests because all my skin folk ain’t my kinfolk. So be very clear about this, as we lobby for justice and we overturn these racist laws and we take people out of positions of power, if what it takes for that woman to do the right thing is to see this man Rosenblatt chuckling over killing a baby, then she doesn’t deserve that job either. Me and the police union, we don’t have nothing in common, but one thing we have in common is she’s not the woman for that job. So just be intentional and claim it she… You feel me?
Speaker 3: (13:27)
Speaker 6: (13:27)
It just is hurtful. I want to also remind you that we’re going to be back here tonight, and I hope you’ll talk about that a bit, because please understand, I would never, ever, ever suggest that you do anything that’s contrary to the law because you shouldn’t. Because unlike the pops, we follow rules, we follow laws, we try to do things within the system. But when the system isn’t working, then the system needs to be torn the fuck apart. Because none of this got changed because we asked politely, none of these rules got revisited. You-all think your governor reopened an investigation because we signed a petition? Because that’s not it. The petition is part of it, the petition is part of it, but it’s just the tip. Thank you for being here. Say his name you-all.
Speaker 6: (14:24)
Say his name.
Speaker 6: (14:24)
Say his name.
Terrence Roberts: (14:25)
I’d like the community to give another hand to these black women, these warrior black women who led this whole initiative. These women… My name is Terrence Roberts. These women have been on the front line of this initiative since an hour after he was murdered, since after he died. Now we’ve all grown to understand what happened to Elijah McClain. APD, time is up, we’re here, we’re going to command the space. It has been 10 months and nine days since Elijah McClain was murdered 30 yards from here, standing right across the street over there. Colorado has had over 300 police shootings with over 200 of them fatal since 2014, only two of them have been deemed unconstitutional, whatever the word is.
Speaker 3: (15:30)
Terrence Roberts: (15:31)
Unlawful. Excuse me. Only two out of 200 people murdered, 200, you guys, only two of them have been deemed unlawful. Colorado was fifth in the nation per capita for police homicides with only two of them being deemed unlawful. This is a pandemic in itself, this is the COVID. I wonder how many of those 200 people were people of color, people who were homeless. I wonder how many of them were around the Colfax area where our unhoused neighbors live. The time is right now, we are going to take up space, we are going to agitate, we are going to be on the front lines until we get these officers not only fired. Rosenblatt, got fired not for killing Elijah, not for murdering Elijah, but for making fun of Elijah. That is the culture that we’re fighting where a police officer can murder a black man, a black child and keep his job and stay on the force so he can go make fun of this child. Then he gets fired 10 months and nine days after he murdered someone, he didn’t even last a year after killing a youth before he was fired.
Terrence Roberts: (17:02)
We are fighting a mentality, we are fighting a culture of rape, of murder, of aggression, of patriarchy. We’re going to stand in this place and we are going to take the show on the road. So if you’re going to be with us, we will be back here at 6:00 PM. Time’s up APD, that is the name of march. The time is now, right now. My love took PSL, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, they have been with us since last year, I appreciate them. Give them a round of applause you-all because they have been standing for Elijah.
Terrence Roberts: (17:49)
All the women, all the people here commanding space, all of our allies, give yourselves a round of applause because we appreciate you, we love you, we need you. Tonight is the tonight that we get together once again, we’re going to command space, we’re going to march down to the Municipal Center, you guys join us. After we leave from here, go get something to eat, come back, let’s join together as a unity, one, love one tribe. Elijah McClain, get them on the air you-all this is for Elijah. We’re going to do it for Elijah McClain, that’s who this was for. We’re going to get justice for Elijah McClain. APD time’s up.
Speaker 1: (18:29)
Thank you again for coming out.