Multiple Aurora police officers are being investigated regarding photographs that show them at the scene of Elijah McClain’s death reenacting the cartoid restraint that preceded his death last summer, according to a CBS4 investigation.
It’s unclear exactly when the photos were taken, which officers are pictured, or what specifically is shown. Aurora’s interim Police Chief Vanessa Wilson released a statement late Monday night saying she ordered an accelerated investigation, the results of which will be released to the public upon its completion.
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“Thursday afternoon, I was apprised of allegations reported to Internal Affairs by an Aurora Police Officer alleging multiple Aurora Police officers were depicted in photographs near the site where Elijah McClain died,” Wilson’s statement reads. “All involved officers were immediately placed on administrative leave with pay in non-enforcement capacities.”
Wilson noted that when the results of the investigation are released, it will include photographic evidence, the officers’ names, and her final determination “which can rise to the level of termination.”
McClain’s death, following an encounter with police in August 2019, has sparked renewed attention and large local protests—one of which featured a violin vigil interrupted by police deploying pepper spray on the crowd. The police officers involved with McClain’s death—Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt, and Randy Roedema—were removed from duty this month, but not until protests against the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis brought it back into the national consciousness.
Those officers initially were cleared of wrongdoing and no charges were filed by the district attorney’s office. However, on June 25, Gov. Jared Polis appointed Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser as a special prosecutor to investigate McClain’s death.