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Colorado AG: Probe finds Aurora Police racially biased

Colorado’s attorney general said Wednesday that a civil rights investigation begun amid outrage over the death of Elijah McClain has found that the Aurora Police Department has pattern of racially biased policing.

Attorney General Phil Weiser announced the investigation found the department has long had a culture in which officers treat people of color — especially Black people — differently than white people. He said the agency also has a pattern of using unlawful excessive force; frequently escalates encounters with civilians; and fails to properly document police interactions with residents.

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

Jun 27, 2020: Investigative reporter Emmanuelle Saliba analyzes body camera video obtained by NBC News’ social newsgathering team, 911 calls and police reports to piece together a minute-by-minute breakdown of Elijah McClain’s deadly arrest.

Weiser urged the police department to commit to recommended reforms in officer training, its policies on use of force and especially stricter standards for police stops and arrests. If it fails to do so, he said his office will seek a court order compelling the department to do so — but he noted that the department fully cooperated in the investigation.

The investigation, announced in August 2020, was the first of its kind launched under a sweeping police accountability law passed in Colorado the month before amid protests over the killing of George Floyd. It had begun several weeks before but was not revealed until the day that McClain’s parents filed a lawsuit against Aurora. The lawsuit alleges that police’s treatment of McClain, a 23-year-old massage therapist, was part of a pattern of racially biased policing that has involved aggression and violence against Black people.

Jun 29, 2020: Riot Police Confront Peaceful Violin Vigil For Elijah McClain With Pepper Spray

The accountability law made it unlawful for police officers or other employees of government agencies to deprive people of their constitutional rights and gave the attorney general the power to enforce it. Under the law, if the attorney general finds an agency has “a pattern or practice” of violating people’s rights, the attorney general must notify the agency of the reasons for that belief and give it 60 days to make changes. If the agency does not make changes, the attorney general can file a lawsuit to force them.

Weiser’s office is also prosecuting three police officers and two paramedics on manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and assault charges in McClain’s death. He convened a grand jury to decide whether to file criminal charges after being ordered to take another look at the case by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis amid last year’s protests.

The grand jury indicted all five.

Sep 2, 2021: Two Aurora Colorado Police Officers, one former officer and two paramedics have been charged for manslaughter and other counts in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain. CBS News national correspondent Jericka Duncan spoke with Elijah’s parents about the new developments.

Police stopped McClain as he walked home from the store on Aug. 24, 2019, after a 911 caller reported a man wearing a ski mask and waving his hands who seemed “sketchy.” Officers put McClain in a chokehold and pinned him down. Paramedics injected him with 500 milligrams of ketamine, an amount appropriate for someone 77 pounds (35 kilograms) heavier than McClain’s 143-pound (64-kilogram) frame, according to the indictment. He was later taken off life support.

Jan 25, 2021: Four Black girls who were mistakenly detained by Aurora police at gunpoint over a suspected stolen car filed a civil lawsuit against police and the city of Aurora on Monday.

The Aurora Police Department also faced criticism when officers put four Black girls on the ground last year and handcuffed two of them next to a car that police suspected was stolen but turned out not to be.

And an officer was charged with assault in July after being captured on body camera video pistol-whipping and choking a Black man during an arrest. Another officer was charged with not intervening as required under the new police accountability law.


Published by amongthefray

News with a historical perspective. Fighting against misinformation, hate, and revisionist history.

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