September 27, 2021

Investigation launched after Elijah McClain’s death finds Aurora Police racially biased

DENVER — Colorado’s legal professional basic stated Wednesday {that a} civil rights investigation begun amid outrage over the death of Elijah McClain has discovered that the Aurora Police Division has sample of racially biased policing.

Lawyer Normal Phil Weiser introduced the investigation discovered the division has lengthy had a tradition wherein officers deal with folks of colour – particularly Black folks – in a different way than white folks. He stated the company additionally has a sample of utilizing illegal extreme pressure; continuously escalates encounters with civilians; and fails to correctly doc police interactions with residents.

“These actions are unacceptable. They hurt the people that law enforcement is entrusted” to serve, he stated.

Weiser urged the police division to decide to really helpful reforms in officer coaching, its insurance policies on use of pressure and particularly stricter requirements for police stops and arrests. If it fails to take action, he stated his workplace will search a court docket order compelling the division to take action – however he famous that the division absolutely cooperated within the investigation.

The investigation, introduced in August 2020, was the primary of its form launched underneath a sweeping police accountability regulation handed in Colorado the month earlier than amid protests over the killing of George Floyd. It had begun a number of weeks earlier than however was not revealed till the day that McClain’s dad and mom filed a lawsuit in opposition to Aurora. The lawsuit alleges that police’s therapy of McClain, a 23-year-old therapeutic massage therapist, was a part of a sample of racially biased policing that has concerned aggression and violence in opposition to Black folks.

The accountability regulation made it illegal for cops or different workers of presidency companies to deprive folks of their constitutional rights and gave the legal professional basic the ability to implement it. Underneath the regulation, if the legal professional basic finds an company has “a pattern or practice” of violating folks’s rights, the legal professional basic should notify the company of the explanations for that perception and provides it 60 days to make modifications. If the company doesn’t make modifications, the legal professional basic can file a lawsuit to pressure them.

Weiser’s workplace can be prosecuting three cops and two paramedics on manslaughter, criminally negligent murder and assault fees in McClain’s death. He convened a grand jury to determine whether or not to file legal fees after being ordered to take one other take a look at the case by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis amid final yr’s protests.

The grand jury indicted all 5.

Police stopped McClain as he walked dwelling from the shop on Aug. 24, 2019, after a 911 caller reported a person carrying a ski masks and waving his fingers who appeared “sketchy.” Officers put McClain in a chokehold and pinned him down. Paramedics injected him with 500 milligrams of ketamine, an quantity applicable for somebody 77 kilos (35 kilograms) heavier than McClain’s 143-pound (64-kilogram) body, in line with the indictment. He was later taken off life assist.

The Aurora Police Division additionally confronted criticism when officers put 4 Black women on the bottom final yr and handcuffed two of them subsequent to a automotive that police suspected was stolen however turned out to not be.

And an officer was charged with assault in July after being captured on physique digicam video pistol-whipping and choking a Black man throughout an arrest. One other officer was charged with not intervening as required underneath the brand new police accountability regulation.


Nieberg is a corps member for the Related Press/Report for America Statehouse Information Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit nationwide service program that locations journalists in native newsrooms to report on undercovered points.


The video within the media participant above was utilized in a earlier report.