AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – For nearly a year Lawayne Mosley, the father of Elijah McClain, has been fighting for justice for his son.
“Now that it’s in front of everybody’s face you can’t side step it. It’s unfortunate it took this long, but we are still fighting every day because we want justice,” Mosely said.
Adding to his family’s tragedy are new allegations that three Aurora Police officers took photos last October reenacting the chokehold that was used on his son just before he died, and that they did so at a site now memorializing 23-year-old McClain.
“I haven’t seen them,” Mosely said referring to the photos. “Cowards, you are cowards I hope you get what you deserve.”
Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson says she was made aware of the photos on Thursday. Despite sitting down with CBS4 Monday afternoon, she made no mention of an internal investigation by the department. Hours later, CBS4 investigator Brian Maass reported information from multiple sources.
Wilson released the following statement immediately following those reports:
“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.”
Mari Newman the attorney for the McClain family says it’s a new low for the Aurora Police Department.
“The people in Aurora should be petrified if those are the type of people charged with protecting and serving them,” she said.
Mosley says the officers taking photos, and those involved in his son’s death need to be held accountable and that he won’t stop fighting until they no longer carry a badge.
“We are tired if it, we are coming for you cowards we are not going to take it anymore,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Aurora Police Department says on 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.