AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – As the anniversary of Elijan McClain’s death approaches, the city of Aurora has added two more investigators into its independent investigation into what happened. Jonathan Smith, of the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, is leading that investigation.
Now, Aurora has announced Roberto Villaseñor of 21CP Solutions and Dr. Melissa Costello will join him. This investigation will not bring criminal charges. The team will give the city council a written report with police recommendations for the police, fire and EMT departments.
Villaseñor is a principal consultant for 21CP Solutions and the former chief of the Tucson Police Department. He retired from that department in 2015 after a 35-year-long career.
21CP is the same firm performing a broad review of the Aurora Police Department, but Councilwoman Allison Hiltz said 21CP told her there will be firewall in the firm between the two investigations. City Manager Jim Twombly said city attorneys are drafting a confidentiality agreement or similar legal structure to solidify that separation.
Dr. Melissa W. Costello is an emergency medicine physician in Mobile, Alabama and practices at a number of hospital in that area. She’s also a consultant for AirMethods Corporation in Denver which provides emergency air transport services to trauma center in 48 states. She also works on a trauma critical care team for the US Department of Health and Human Services.
In addition to the two investigations undertaken by Aurora, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser is reviewing the McClain case for a possible civil rights investigation. Weiser also has a separate investigation into the Aurora Police Department looking its patterns and practices.
The FBI and Department of Justice opened an investigation into McClain’s death in 2019.
McClain was stopped by Aurora police officers on Aug. 24 and was pulled off of life support on Aug. 30.