Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced that he is opening a grand jury investigation into the 2019 death of Elijah McClain.
McClain, 23, was a Black massage therapist who was stopped by Aurora police while walking home from a store with iced tea. McClain struggled with officers and died days later after being placed in a chokehold.
“Under the Governor’s executive order, the Attorney General’s Office continues to conduct an independent investigation concerning the events of August 24, 2019, involving Elijah McClain and his subsequent death,” said the statement from the AG, according to CNN.
“The grand jury is an investigative tool that has the power to compel testimony from witnesses and require production of documents and other relevant information,” the statement read.
“Our investigation will be thorough, guided by the facts and law, and worthy of the public’s trust. In order to maintain the impartiality and integrity of the process,” the statement said.
Following McClain’s death, the county coroner conducted an autopsy that did not determine the cause of death. The report concluded his death could have been an accident, resulting from natural causes, or a homicide.
The three Aurora police officers involved were initially placed on administrative leave but later reinstated when prosecutors declined to bring criminal charges against them. District Attorney Dave Young said his office did not find enough evidence that the officers violated Colorado law or used excessive force. In February, A police review board called the use of force, including the carotid hold, “within policy and consistent with training.”
Following a renewed interest in the case after George Floyd’s death, Colorado Governor Jared Polis asked Weiser in June to conduct an independent investigation into McClain’s death and bring criminal charges if warranted.
In August, the attorney general confirmed he was conducting his own investigation into the Aurora PD and looking into whether its “patterns and practices” are unconstitutional. The city of Aurora has additionally commissioned an examination of the police department, hiring an outside consultant to conduct a “comprehensive review.”