AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) — Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman talked with CBS News about the death of Elijah McClain and the investigations involving Aurora police officers. The most recent investigation involves three officers posing for inappropriate photos — reenacting the chokehold used on McClain before his death.
Aurora police say the photos were taken in October 2019. Coffman said he has not seen the photos himself — but confirmed the photos depict the officers reenacting the carotid hold used on McClain.
Coffman said he believes there were three factors in McClain’s death: preexisting health conditions, stress of struggle with police, and use of ketamine. He said the use of ketamine is under review.
“It’s such a horrific incident,” Coffman said. He said the body camera video from the confrontation in August 2019 is “very hard to listen to, very hard to watch.”
Coffman said the part of the video that really stands out in his mind is McClain saying he just wanted to go home.
“…his words, you know of ‘Please let me go home, I didn’t do anything wrong,’” Coffman said.
He said there’s nothing he can say or do for McClain’s family that will make up for their loss, but said it is becoming a catalyst for change.
“[Their] loss, although not replaceable, has made, I believe, a difference in this community in terms of moving forward. There was an awareness that blew up, that it is a catalyst for change,” Coffman said. “[We are] moving forward, and that we will never move back to allow something like that to occur again.”
Coffman says he welcomes a second look at the case by federal authorities.