AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Three Aurora police officers are under investigation for taking inappropriate photos at a memorial for Elijah McClain, sources tell CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass.
My sources say the photos were disseminated within @AuroraPD to other officers and showed the officers reenacting the hold that preceeded McClains death. Question :were the officers on duty and in uniform? Its hard to believe this story could get worse. It just did. @CBSDenver
— Brian Maass (@Briancbs4) June 30, 2020
Maass reports the officers were shown reenacting the carotid restraint, which was used on McClain.
The department’s interim police chief, Vanessa Wilson, released this statement late Monday night:
“Thursday afternoon, I was apprised of allegations reported to Internal Affairs by an Aurora Police Officer alleging multiple Aurora Police officers were depicted in photographs near the site where Elijah McClain died. All involved officers were immediately placed on administrative leave with pay in non-enforcement capacities.
I immediately ordered Internal Affairs to make this investigation their top priority. This accelerated investigation was completed this evening.
This investigation will be publicly released in its entirety promptly upon its conclusion. This will include reports, photographic evidence obtained, officer’s names, and my final determination which can rise to the level of termination.”
The McClain family issued the following statement through their attorney:
“Just when we thought the Aurora Police could not be any worse, they somehow find a new low. This is a department where officers tackled an innocent young black man for no reason, inflicted outrageous force – including two carotid chokeholds – for fifteen minutes as he pled for his life, joked when he vomited, and threatened to sic a dog on him for not lying still enough as he was dying. They tampered with their body cameras to hide the evidence. They exonerated the killers. They deployed riot police and spewed pepper gas on peaceful protestors [sic] at a vigil of mourners playing the violin. And now this.”
McClain died after a confrontation with Aurora police in August of 2019. The community has demanded the three officers and two paramedics involved in the confrontation be fired.
The three officers were removed from patrol duty last week.