AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Multiple officers from the Aurora Police Department have been issued official notice of pending discipline from the interim chief after photos surfaced of them allegedly mimicking the chokehold used on Elijah McClain.
The photos were taken in October of 2019, officials tells CBS4, near the memorial where McClain, 23, was arrested, and could lead to the termination of the officers involved.
Two spokespersons from Aurora police told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas they were eager to be transparent and release the photos and names of officers involved. However, due to city policy, they are not allowed to do so until the officers are given proper opportunity to fight the chief’s decisions.
Tuesday morning, all of the officers involved were given official notice of pre-disciplinary measures from the interim chief. They are then given up to 72 hours from the time they received their notices to rebut the chief’s decision. If an officer elects to rebut the decision, and the chief upholds her findings, the officers are then given 10 days to ask for a reconsideration from a team within the city.
As of Tuesday evening, Aurora police could not say whether or not any of the officers involved intended to fight the accusations and discipline.
“I want to say I am surprised. But, nothing with the Aurora Police Department can surprise me anymore,” said Mari Newman, the McClain Family’s attorney.
Newman told Thomas she was notified that the images existed 15 minutes before CBS4’s Brian Maass broke the story on CBSDenver.com. She, and the family, have not been able to see the images yet.
“(The family is) devastated. It is hard to know how to respond because we haven’t seen the picture yet,” Newman said,
Newman accused the department of failing to be transparent about the photos, after learning they were likely taken within months of McClain’s death in 2019.
“If the photos were taken a significant time ago and are only coming to light because of the international media attention and the millions of people who have stood up to express their outrage, that is problematic,” Newman said.
Supporters of the McClain family gathered at the memorial where Elijah was initially contacted and placed in a chokehold after officers accused him of attempting to take a gun.
“We must end this now. This is not a time for complacency and band aids on bullet wounds,” said Candice Bailey.
“Here we are, 10 months after Elijah was killed. We just have to wonder what are we going to find next,” Newman said.
The three officers were removed from patrol duty last week.