DCR Crime: Aurora, Colorado police department have pattern of racial bias, according to probe triggered by Elijah McClain death.☕☕☕

Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves a police department in Colorado with patterns of racial bias after a murder of an unarmed black teenager.

The Aurora Police Department engaged in repeated abuses against Black people, the state’s attorney general said Wednesday as he announced the findings of an investigation launched in response to the police killing of a 23 year old Black man in the city in 2019.

According to a 14-month investigation by a team appointed by the Colorado state attorney general’s office, found that the Aurora Police Department, which cooperated with the probe, Black people differently from their White counterparts, repeatedly used excessive force, and failed to properly document interactions with citizens, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser (D) said. The city fire department has also misused ketamine, an anesthetic, on citizens, he also added.

Weiser told reporters that the state will ask Aurora to sign a voluntary consent decree that will appoint a third party monitor to oversee changes to the city’s police and fire departments. The state is also prepared to seek a court order that will require Aurora to comply if the efforts to produce changes are unsuccessful. “Our objective is to develop an agreed-upon consent decree that’s going to enable Aurora to improve and build trust in law enforcement,” Weiser said. “It’s critical that we … institute meaningful and lasting change.”

Weiser began the 14 month investigation into Aurora’s police and fire departments in 2020, as outrage over police brutality against racial minorities grew following the murder of George Floyd by a White police officer in Minnesota.

August 2019 killing of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black massage therapist who was stopped on his way home from a convenience store. Police officers put him in a chokehold, and paramedics administered without McClain’s consent about 50 percent more ketamine than recommended for a person with McClain’s 143-pound body size.

McClain was unarmed when a passerby reported him to emergency services as someone who could be “sketchy.” He was holding a plastic grocery bag containing cans of iced tea, listening to music with his ear buds and wearing a black ski mask, according to an Aug. 27 grand jury indictment of the police officers and paramedics who were at the scene. Weiser announced Sept. 1 that the three police officers and two paramedics had been indicted on 32 counts. McClain suffered brain death and was removed from life support three days after the incident.

McClain’s death pushed Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) to sign a police accountability law that, most notably, banned the use of chokeholds. A month later, Aurora’s interim police chief fired three officers who mocked McClain’s death in a reenactment.

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman said last Wednesday that the city’s fire and police chiefs had been working to resolve the problems raised by the investigation. “We will achieve an outcome that respects the rights of everyone who lives and works in our diverse community.” McClain’s mother, Sheneen McClain, participated in the investigation and welcomed the findings, according to the Associated Press. “It’s just terrible that it takes my son’s death for Aurora police to change what they’ve been doing for a long time in this community.”

Credit: The Washington Post, New York Times.

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