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Civil Rights Inquiry After Elijah McClain’s Death Finds Colorado Police “Racially-biased”

Colorado State Inquiry Triggered by Police Murder of Unarmed 23-Year-Old Black Elijah McClain Reveals Aurora Police Department “has a habit and practice of violating federal laws and state through racist police “.

The 112-page report revealed “a consistent pattern of illegal police behavior in Aurora, which can be observed at many levels of the department,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser’s office said in a statement on September 15.

The agency “does not create and monitor appropriate expectations for responsible behavior, leading to excessive use of force and violation of the civil rights of its residents,” according to the report.

Aurora police used force against people of color more than two and a half times more than against white residents. Blacks account for nearly half of all cases in which police use force, although black residents make up only 15% of the city’s population, according to the report, which cites police data.

Aurora police also arrested 1.3 times as many people of color as whites, and blacks were arrested twice as often as whites.

“These actions are unacceptable,” Weiser said Wednesday. “They hurt the people law enforcement is responsible for protecting, and they destroy community trust.”

The Attorney General’s office announced an investigation into Aurora law enforcement in August 2020 the same day Elijah McClain’s parents filed a lawsuit against the city.

On August 25, 2019, police in Aurora tackled Mr. McClain to the ground, where he was pinned to the ground for 15 minutes as he cried out in distress. Officers also placed him in a carotid socket twice, cutting off blood flow to his brain and possibly causing him to pass out.

When paramedics arrived, they administered a “therapeutic” dose of ketamine.

He suffered a heart attack and died on August 30, 2019.

Body-mounted cameras were not attached to the officers during their confrontation with Mr McClain, but a sound was recorded.

Two police officers, a former officer and two paramedics each face one count of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide and other counts in connection with Mr McClain’s death.

The officers named in the indictment are Nathan Woodyard and Randy Roedema and former officer Jason Rosenblatt. The paramedics are Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec.

Due to ongoing criminal investigations, the attorney general’s report does not contain information on Mr. McClain’s death.

But the investigation found that Aurora paramedics administered ketamine 22 times for so-called “excited delirium” cases between January 2019 and June 2020, marking a “pattern and practice of illegal administration of ketamine.” . Aurora Fire Rescue has suspended the use of ketamine.

“These records show that in more than half of the incidents, paramedics did not follow ketamine monitoring protocols and administered ketamine in doses greater than the maximum dose allowed for the subject’s reported weight.” , according to the report.

The investigation is the first of its kind in the state after the state legislature recently passed a comprehensive police reform bill authorizing the state attorney general to conduct civil rights investigations “Model or practice”, with accused agencies having 60 days to implement the policy. changes before the state initiates legal action.

Attorney General Weiser said the state was “ready to take legal action if necessary.”

Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson said her agency “will work with the Attorney General’s office to determine how to implement the necessary and lasting changes” and signaled that Aurora Police will commit to enter into a court-ordered agreement, or consent decree, to ensure changes are made.


The Independent Gt