AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A Colorado group is organizing a rally and march for Aurora’s Elijah McClain. The 23-year-old man died after a confrontation with Aurora police in August of 2019.
Rally organizers, the Party for Socialism and Liberation-Denver, say they plan to demand all three officers involved and two paramedics be fired; the case be reopened and criminal charges be filed against the officers and paramedics; restitution for the McClain family.
The rally is scheduled for Saturday, June 27 at 1 p.m. at APD headquarters.
McClain was walking with a mask on and groceries in his hand when he was approached by police. Officers were responding to a call of a suspicious person in the area matching McClain’s description.
A police officer in the released video acknowledges McClain was not doing anything criminal prior to the arrest.
During the confrontation, McClain was placed in a carotid restraint, which was recently banned by the Aurora Police Department. The Aurora Fire Department was also called to the scene and administered a dose of ketamine to subdue McClain.
He went into cardiac arrest twice on the way to the hospital and died days later.
Last year, the district attorney’s office released a letter saying no charges would be filed against the three officers involved in the case, who have since returned to duty.
Earlier this month, the city of Aurora terminated the contract of the attorney selected to lead the Elijah McClain death investigation after members of the Aurora City Council voiced concerns over his neutrality.
On Wednesday, the city’s Public Safety, Courts & Civil Service Commission Policy Committe sent a letter to the city manager, Jim Twombly, calling for the investigation to be completed and presented by July 16.
Read the full letter here:
Earlier this month, we asked you to open an independent investigation into the death of Elijah McClain. We asked for a neutral 3rd party to conduct the investigation for two reasons. First, it was important to us that the case was looked at from an outside perspective. Second, and more importantly, it was important to us that report be used to begin healing and restoring trust in our community.
After we were informed of the individual you had selected, he didn’t meet that standard of neutrality. While he is certainly an accomplished attorney after a long career in law enforcement, we didn’t feel that his review would meet what the community wanted.
While some might have misinterpreted that as anti-law enforcement, it wasn’t. It was merely an acknowledgement that neutrality is a key component of an independent investigation of this type.
Over the last several days, we have received thousands of contacts from all over the country – phone calls, text messages, emails and social media tags. The community has made clear they support our call for an independent investigation.
While we recognize the need to make the right choice, we also feel like time is of the essence. As elected leaders, one responsibility we have is to be representative of the community. And while we need to make the right choice, we also need to move forward in an expeditious manner. Trust is already eroded – delaying action will only cause further strain in our community.
This letter is to serve as a request for a formal discussion & presentation at our July 16, 2020 Public Safety, Courts & Civil Service Commission meeting regarding your recommendations for individuals that will be able to complete the investigation into Elijah McClain’s death. At the conclusion of that meeting, we’d like for your final recommendation to be on the agenda for the next regular meeting of the Aurora City Council for a formal vote.
To us, it is important that this investigation bring forward the facts about what transpired on the night of August 24, 2019. As we have heard loud and clear – this will help to restore trust and repair the frayed relationship between the community and the City of Aurora.
Allison H. Hiltz, Chair
Curtis E. Gardner, Vice Chair
Angela Lawson, Member
Aurora City Council Public Safety, Courts & Civil Service Commission Policy Committee