DENVER (CBS4) – Attorney General Phil Weiser has launched an investigation into the Aurora Police Department. This investigation is separate from the state investigation into the death of Elijah McClain.
The Attorney General’s office confirms to CBS4 that an investigation has been ongoing for several weeks. The statement from the AG’s office:
“To clarify information that is in the public domain, the Attorney General’s Office is confirming that, for several weeks now, it has been investigating patterns and practices of the Aurora Police Department that might deprive individuals of their constitutional rights under state or federal law. This patterns and practice investigation, authorized by SB20-217, is in addition to a separate investigation the office is conducting into the death of Elijah McClain. In order to maintain the impartiality and integrity of these investigations, the Attorney General’s Office has no further comment at this time.”
The investigation comes on the heels of the state-level investigation into the death of Elijah McClain last August. Currently, there is a local, state, and federal investigation into what led to his death.
Last month, the Aurora City Council voted to open an independent investigation into McClain’s death. Jonathan Smith of the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs was selected to lead the investigation. That investigation will not bring any criminal charges. The team will issue a written report to the city council with policy recommendations for the police, fire and EMT departments. The investigation will review policies including calls for service, police contact with individuals, use of force, calls for medical assistance, ketamine use, and administrative incident reviews.
In addition to the independent investigation, Gov. Jared Polis has appointed the Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser as a Special Prosecutor to examine the case.
The City of Aurora also announced Tuesday a “comprehensive review” of the Aurora Police Department.
City Manager Jim Twombly and Chief of Police Vanessa Wilson announced today that they will be undertaking a comprehensive review of the Aurora Police Department: https://t.co/msTUGRU5qW pic.twitter.com/4FLTP3YQTx
— City of Aurora, CO (@AuroraGov) August 11, 2020
Also Tuesday, the McClain family filed a lawsuit in Federal court against the City of Aurora and several officers involved in his 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.
The three officers involved in McClain’s death were removed from patrol duty in June. They have not been charged.
One of the officers, Jason Rosenblatt, was fired over his response to a photo text message, in which three APD officers posed for a picture reenacting the carotid restraint used on McClain. The three fired officers have appealed their terminations.