Colorado Attorney General Confirms ‘Patterns And Practices’ Investigation Into Aurora Police Department

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Racial Injustice Elijah McClain
David Zalubowski/AP
Demonstrators carry placards as they walk down Sable Boulevard during a rally and march over the death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain, Saturday, June 27, 2020, in Aurora, Colo. McClain died in late August 2019 after he was stopped while walking to his apartment by three Aurora Police Department officers.

State Attorney General Phil Weiser said on Tuesday that his office has, for the last several weeks, been probing “patterns and practices” at the Aurora Police Department to see whether officers have deprived individuals of their constitutional rights under state or federal law.

This investigation is separate from the ongoing investigation Weiser’s office is conducting into the Elijah McClain death. Gov. Jared Polis appointed Weiser as a special prosecutor to look into potential criminal charges into the death of the 23-year-old.

McClain died in August 2019 after he was placed in two carotid holds by police investigating a suspicious person complaint, then injected with ketamine by paramedics attempting to calm him. 

McClain, a Black man, was suspected of no crime when police approached him. 

Weiser’s patterns and practices investigation comes just a couple of months after his office was given new authority by state lawmakers to probe potential abuses by police.

“In order to maintain the impartiality and integrity of these investigations, the Attorney General’s Office has no further comment at this time,” a brief statement released by the office on Tuesday said.

The Aurora Police Department said it will comply with the investigation.

This is the fourth government investigation into McClain’s death and the Aurora Police Department. In addition to the two separate investigations conducted by the state attorney general’s office, the feds are looking into whether McClain’s civil rights were violated. The city has also hired an independent investigator to look into potential problems at the APD.

McClain’s family also sued the city of Aurora, along with 13 individual police officers and a paramedic and his supervisor on Tuesday. In that lawsuit filed in federal court, McClain’s family attorney details 11 pages of police brutality by victims going back to 2003. That includes an incident on Aug. 2, when a Black family, including children, were held at gunpoint by officers after mistaking a car that was stolen.