Colorado officers under investigation for photos taken near the Elijah McClain memorial


Three police officers in Aurora, Colorado, were put on leave as authorities investigate photos that allegedly show them near the area where he is 23 years old. Elijah McClain was assassinated last August. Sources told CBS Denver that the unreleased photos show officers recreating the warehouse that preceded McClain’s death.

“On Thursday afternoon, I was informed of the allegations reported to Internal Affairs by an Aurora police officer who alleged that several Aurora policemen were depicted in photographs near the site where Elijah McClain died,” said the interim chief of police for the department Vanessa Wilson in a statement Monday. night. “All officers involved were immediately placed on administrative leave with pay in non-compliance capacities.”

Wilson said an expedited investigation was completed Monday night and promised that the results of the full investigation will be released “immediately after its conclusion.”

“This will include reports, photographic evidence obtained, officer names, and my final determination that may raise the level of completion,” Wilson said.

Tensions have been high since McClain’s fatal encounter with police last August, but his death received renewed attention after national protests against police brutality.

“When we look at photos like this, that trust is still broken for us,” said forensic psychology professor Apryl Alexander, who is part of Black Lives Matter Denver. “Are we really going to feel safe?”

People protest the death of Elijah McClain
At a vigil in Aurora, Colorado, on June 27, 2020, Valerie Reives plays the viola as protesters turn on the lights of their mobile phones to honor Elijah McClain who, when alive, played his violin in animal shelters because he thought that the kittens were alone.

KEVIN MOHATT / REUTERS


McClain was killed in August 2019, after an encounter with three police officers in which an officer claimed that he reached for one of his weapons. He was strangled, knocking him unconscious, and he was given ketamine as a sedative after he woke up and allegedly became aggressive, according to a report compiled by District Attorney Dave Young.

He then suffered cardiac arrest that led to a loss of blood flow to the brain, and was declared brain dead three days later.

Young did not accuse the officers, alleging that there was insufficient evidence to move on. But after facing national scrutiny and calling for arrests, Colorado Governor Jared Polis appointed a special prosecutor in the case last week.

The three officers involved in McClain’s death were moved out of regular service last week “in an effort to protect those officers,” a city spokesman said.

Adriana Díaz contributed reporting.

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Elijah McClain

Mari Newman


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