NYC vigil honors Elijah McClain with violin tribute

GREENWICH VILLAGE, Manhattan (WABC) -- The sounds of violins filled Washington Square Park to honor the memory of a young Black man killed in a police encounter last year.

Elijah McClain, 23, played the violin himself.

He died last August after Aurora, Colorado, police put him into a neck hold and he was injected with ketamine.

The incident unfolded after a 911 call reporting someone who appeared "sketchy."

Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order directing state Attorney General Phil Weiser to investigate McClain's death and possibly prosecute those involved.

McClain's name has become a rallying cry during the national reckoning over racism and police brutality following the deaths of George Floyd and others.

"Elijah McClain should be alive today, and we owe it to his family to take this step and elevate the pursuit of justice in his name to a statewide concern," Polis said in a statement

He said he has spoken with McClain's mother and was moved by her description of her son as a "responsible and curious child ... who could inspire the darkest soul."

More than two million people have signed a petition demanding an independent investigation into McClain's death.

This comes as the death of George Floyd sparked a nationwide anti-police-brutality movement, which came with renewed attention to previous deaths of Black men and women in police custody.

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