Three Aurora police officers are under investigation after taking offensive photos at a memorial for Elijah McClain, CBS4 is reporting.
CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass said sources told him that the photos show the officers reenacting the carotid restraint that was used on McClain.
The department’s interim police chief, Vanessa Wilson, released a statement late Monday night stating that she learned of the accusations to Internal Affairs by another Aurora police officer. Photos depicting several officers reenacting the chokehold used on McClain near the site where he died had circulated around the Aurora police department.
“All involved officers were immediately placed on administrative leave with pay in non-enforcement capacities,” Wilson said.
“I immediately ordered Internal Affairs to make this investigation their top priority. This accelerated investigation was completed this evening,” Wilson said in the statement. “This investigation will be publicly released in its entirety promptly upon its conclusion. This will include reports, photographic evidence obtained, officer’s names, and my final determination, which can rise to the level of termination.”
McClain was stopped by police on August 24, 2019, after officers were called to the area for a report of a “suspicious person.” McClain was wearing a ski mask due to his anemia and did not initially stop walking when he was asked to do so by police. A struggle ensued, and McClain was held down by three officers and placed in a carotid hold. McClain began vomiting and apologizing.
Paramedics arrived on the scene and injected McClain with ketamine, causing him to go into cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital, where he was later declared brain dead. His family took him off of life support on August 30, and he passed away.
The officers involved were removed from patrol duty last week but have not faced charges.
There is renewed interest in the case amid heightened racial tension after the death of George Floyd at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.