Elijah McClain: Colorado protesters closed Highway 225

McClain, 23, died last August during a confrontation with Aurora police officers. An officer placed McClain in a carotid cellar, or strangler. McClain suffered a heart attack while in the ambulance and was declared brain dead three days later.

The protesters met for the first time Saturday at the Aurora Municipal Center and were on the road about an hour later, according to CNG affiliate KMGH-TV. Police had already closed the road before protesters arrived, the affiliate said. The Aurora Police Department tweeted that the protests were peaceful and no injuries or arrests were reported.

“We not only recognize a person’s right to freedom of expression and expression; we support and protect their right to do so peacefully,” wrote Aurora Interim Police Chief Vanessa Wilson in a statement to KMGH.

Wilson said the community was recovering from the death of McClain, who said that “he was not only a dear son, brother and friend, but also a valued member of our community.”

“I have heard from our community, and I am listening today,” Wilson wrote. “Their voices and concerns are not falling on deaf ears. I am dedicated to meaningful reform, just as all the good officers here today are.”

Protesters divided into different groups after closing the road, police tweeted. Some remained on the highway while others moved to 6th Avenue and continued walking, the tweet said.