AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – During a study session Monday night, Aurora City Council discussed the independent, third-party investigation into Elijah McClain’s death. Council members also voted to move forward on a ban on carotid control holds and chokeholds.
City Manager Jim Twombly mandated a new policy for Aurora police in June to stop the use of carotid holds, the restraint used on McClain. The new ordinance would make the ban more permanent and harder to reverse.
Twombly is also working with city council members to assemble an independent panel to investigate McClain’s death.
Police stopped McClain in August 2019 while responding to a report of a suspicious person. McClain, a 23-year-old Black man, was restrained by police before paramedics administered a dose of 500 mg of ketamine. McClain went into cardiac arrest in the ambulance and later died at the hospital.
McClain’s death has garnered national attention and calls for police reform. Several Aurora police officers were terminated or resigned after photos surfaced showing the officers reenacting the carotid hold used on McClain.
In June, Aurora terminated its contract with the attorney selected to lead the McClain death investigation after members of the Aurora City Council voiced concerns over his neutrality. The city is still working to select members of the panel, including the lead investigator.
During Monday’s special meeting, council members said they are looking for panelists with backgrounds in civil rights, criminal justice and medicine.
“At the end of the day it’s all of our responsibility, not one individual council member, because we’re all going to be held accountable for how this goes,” said council member Crystal Murillo, who represents Ward I.
Panel candidates could be named as soon as July 20, when city council meets for another study session. Aurora City Council will need to vote to approve the panel, before members can begin to investigate and recommend changes to police and fire department policies.
The third-party investigation will not bring criminal charges. The city will hear another presentation about the investigation on July 16.