Probe Reveals Aurora Police Has Pattern of Racially Biased Profiling
In SummaryAn investigation into the Aurora police revealed it had a pattern of racially-biased behavior, according to the state Attorney General.
A civil rights investigation launched after the death of Elijah McClain revealed the Aurora Police Department has a pattern of racially biased profiling and excessive use of force.
Colorado’s Attorney General Phil Weiser made the announcement on Wednesday, saying, “These actions are unacceptable. They hurt the people that law enforcement is entrusted to protect, and they destroy community trust.”
According to CBS News, Weiser said the investigation found officers applied more force than necessary without giving residents enough time to respond to commands on a regular basis. Weister attributed one of the underlying reasons behind the failures to “severe cultural challenges” created by the department’s culture, discipline policies and hiring issues.
As part of the investigation, millions of records were analyzed, including 3,000 police reports from the Aurora Police Department and Aurora Fire and Rescue. For Weiser, it’s about accountability. “We’ll hold Aurora accountable for past patterns and practices,” he said.
The results of the investigation come weeks after Weiser charged three officers and two paramedics in McClain’s death. The first responders were each charged with one count of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide among other charges in the 32-count indictment.
McClain was stopped by police while he was on his way home from a store wearing a ski mask and headphones. The officers involved placed the 23-year-old in a chokehold and paramedics injected him with 500 milligrams of ketamine. He suffered cardiac arrest and died days later.
His mother Sheneen McClain spoke with Yodit Tewolde, host of BNC’s Making the Case w/ Yodit, about the charges and said she was shocked. “I definitely was surprised. I was praying for a good outcome,” she said. “I was praying for one that would allow my son’s soul to be at peace. When the indictments came down, I was surprised. I was shocked. I didn’t expect that level of justice, especially in the state of Colorado.”
The investigation into Aurora police’s actions is the first of its kind in the state and requires Weister to notify government agencies of the findings. Under the law, the Aurora police department now has 60 days to implement changes or face legal action from the Attorney General.
“We’re prepared to move forward with legal action if necessary to address these issues,” Weiser said. “We see this as a unique opportunity. It’s a moment in time when we’re focused with Aurora.”
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