AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Results from an independent investigation into the death of Elijah McClain were released Monday. The 23 year old was unarmed and hadn’t committed any crimes when Aurora police stopped him in August 2019.
The independent report was critical of how police and paramedics handled the situation. It found McClain should not have been detained in the first place. The report also faulted officers for using restraining holds without cause.READ MORE: Independent Investigation Into Elijah McClain's Death Complete, Major Aurora Police Changes Recommended
The panel said within one minute of stopping McClain, police used force against him. The investigation involved interviews, examinations of body camera footage, and took autopsy reports and officer reports into consideration.
McClain’s mother, Sheneen, tells CBS4’s Andrea Flores she got emotional when she read the report, and believes this is one small victory in the bigger fight for her son.
“I had lost hope, but today gave me some hope,” McClain told CBS4. “I feel good knowing that my son’s name is cleared. I feel good knowing that everybody can see the truth now, that Aurora, Colorado does employ killers, and they do what they can to cover it up.”
The 157 page report details how Aurora Police and Aurora Fire paramedics mishandled the interaction.
“I want the police officers to be charged, I want the firefighters to be charged, and everyone that stood there and watched and did nothing to deescalate the situation needs to be charged,” said McClain.READ MORE: Elijah McClain Investigation: Implicit Bias Among Focuses From Independent Investigation
Aurora Police claim McClain tried to resist arrest, was put in a carotid hold, tackled to the ground, then injected with the sedative ketamine by paramedics. McClain, who would be celebrating his 25th birthday on the Feb. 25, died six days later.
“I miss his smile, I miss his laugh, I miss him,” she said. “I just miss him.”
While state, federal, and civil investigations continue, McClain’s mother believes the truth about what happened the night of Aug. 24, 2019 is slowing coming to light.
“Aurora, Colorado, the world is looking at you and sees everything you do,” said McClain. “You can’t hide anymore.”
Doug Wilkinson, president of Aurora Police Association, released a statement disagreeing with the review on Monday evening:
The Aurora Police Department and Adams County District Attorney cleared our officers of any wrongdoing. To claim that Elijah McClain was murdered is a lie. We call for courage on the part of City leadership.
Aurora leaders, including the chiefs of the Aurora Police and Aurora Fire Departments, will speak to the public on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. about the review. Watch their comments on CBSN Denver.