Three Colorado police officers have been placed on leave after photos emerge of them ‘re-enacting the chokehold used on Elijah McClain during his police death’ – at a memorial for the victim where silent protesters were pepper-sprayed
Elijah McClain was killed Aug. 2019 after police officer Nathan Woodyard put him in a chokehold during an arrest on the streets of Aurora
Authorities later determined that the officers were justified in their actions. No charges were brought against the trio of officers
McClain’s death and subsequent ham-handed investigation of circumstances surrounding his death has has been at the center of protests throughout Colorado against racism and police brutality
Aurora Interim Police Chief Vanessa Wilson late Monday announced she learned of the alleged images on Thursday and ordered an investigation
McClain’s death in August last year has been at the center of protests throughout Colorado against racism and police brutality
Sources say the photographs allegedly show the three officers re-enacting the carotid restraint – that was used on McClain during his fatal arrest
Aurora Police Dept have concluded that the three officers involved in Elijah McClain’s death – officers Peter Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt and Randy Roedema – ‘had acted within acceptable policy and training,’ with the district attorney overseeing the case declining to level any criminal charges against them. Woodyard applied the deadly chokehold
Elijah McClain died while in the custody of Aurora police in August of 2019. The community has demanded the three officers and two paramedics involved in the confrontation be fired.
McClain’s death has prompted a handful of small protests over the last 10 months, but his case has garnered renewed attention amid a global outcry sparked by the Memorial Day death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer.
McClain had been walking home on August 24, 2019, when someone called 911 to report him as acting suspiciously.
The caller told dispatchers that a ‘sketchy’ looking person was walking down Billings Street with a mask on, but made no mention of any crime.
Family members say McClain used to wear a ski mask whenever he felt cold. He had just bought an ice tea from a convenience store when the 911 call was made.
McClain, who weighed 140lbs, was then tackled to the ground by cops shortly afterwards. It’s believed he may have been listening to music at the time and hadn’t heard the police approaching him.
After being handcuffed, Officer Nathan Woodyard applied a ‘carotid control hold’ around McClain’s neck, which restricts blood to the brain to render someone unconscious.
The 23-year-old vomited several times under the strain of Woodyard’s hold. A paramedic then gave him a shot of The drug ketamine.
In body-cam footage of the fatal incident, McClain is heard pleading with the officers that, ‘I just can’t breathe correctly’. He went into cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and died days later.
Investigators said McClain resisted arrest. At one point in the body camera video, an officer is heard saying, ‘He’s going for your gun.’
McClain is heard telling officers he wasn’t resisting. He also told them he was an introvert, a vegetarian and was unable to hurt a fly.
McClain can be heard saying, ‘I’m just different. That’s all.’
This photographs allegedly shows the three officers re-enacting the carotid restraint that was used on Elijah McClain during his fatal arrest near the 1900 block of Billings Street in August 2019 [photo] in Denver, Colorado
In the face of the tense circumstances of the death of another young black man, the alleged disturbing images of cops re-enacting his demise was said to have been disseminated within Aurora PD between several officers, CBS’ Brian Amass reported.
It’s unclear if the officers were on duty or were wearing their uniforms when the purported images were taken.
In her statement, Police Chief Wilson said the investigation will be publicly released on its conclusion, which will include photographic evidence in addition to the officers’ names.
The Aurora Police Department, has announced that they are investigating whether the photos of the officers near the site of McClain’s death violate any department policies and if a recommendation for any punishment should be issued.
At the scene where the recent police infraction in Aurora, images taken Sunday have emerged of members of the Aurora PD were seen pepper spraying peaceful protesters during a violin performance to honor McClain’s memory, held near City Center Park,
The presence of the police was sudden. At one point only the noise of the violinists could be heard before the police suddenly began storming the gathering to the crowd’s cries of ‘No!’.
In one video of the confrontation, a woman can be heard yelling at the police to ‘stop’ as officers in riot gear began forcibly removing demonstrators out of the park and administering pepper spray.
The protesters continued to stand their ground for as long as they could with some even forming a human chain around the violinists to protect them from police.
Eventually, the demonstration was forced into a parking lot, where musicians continued to play violin and protesters broke out in song.
The McClain family’s lawyer, Mari Newman, had been at the vigil with Elijah’s two younger sisters when police began forcefully dispersing the crowd.
She called the police response ‘brutal, totally uncalled for and outrageous,’ to TMZ.