On September 1st, 2021, over two years after the racist killing took place, the 3 cops and 2 paramedics who killed Elijah McClain have been indicted by a grand jury on 32 counts total. Not only was Elijah unarmed, compliant, and non-violent towards anyone involved, he did not commit any crime or violate any law. The young Black man was a musician and well-known member of his community in Aurora, Colorado. Elijah was only 23 years old when he was killed, and he should still be with us today.

SDS celebrates any step taken towards police accountability as a victory for the Black Lives Matter movement. Creating systemic change and safer communities is a long-term process that will involve all the victories we can win, big or small. However, we also recognize the manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges levied against Nathan Woodyard, Randy Roedema, Jason Rosenblatt, Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec can only result in a maximum prison sentence of 9 years with eligibility for parole. Moreover, it has taken protesters two years to force the judicial system to bring charges against these 5 men, and the McClain family and friends will still have to relive the trauma of their loss as the trial unfolds, which could take even more years.

The American injustice system is a fundamentally broken one. While white supremacists and mass shooters are often arrested without incident after killing dozens of people, Black Americans are subjected to suspicion by the police and reactionary community members, which often leads to violence and death. There can be no accountability for police murders and political repression without democratic participation from the people in bodies such as a Civilian Police Accountability Council, which has the ability independent of other governing bodies to hire and fire officers up to the Chief of Police, investigate accusations of misconduct, change and enforce policy and practice, set (defund) the police budget, and make other necessary changes.

SDS will continue organizing against police injustice on our campuses and in our communities to prevent more police murders like those of Elijah McClain. On September 9th, 2021, National SDS will also be hosting a national day of action against police crimes, for other campuses trying to defund, disband, and set up accountability councils to stop police in their own cities. Join us!

Stop Police Crimes and Political Repression!
Justice for Elijah McClain!
Black Lives Matter!