The Killing of Elijah McClain
Elijah McClain, a 23 year old Black massage therapist, was on his way home when someone decided he looked “sketchy” and called the police. As usual, when it’s a Black man, police overreacted. Elijah was pinned to the ground by three Aurora Police Officers: Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt and Randy Roedema. Officer Woodyard was the one who applied a choke hold to Elijah’s neck. Whichever officer had the K-9, threatened to have his dog attack Elijah.
Elijah kept trying to assure officers that he wasn’t doing anything. He told officers he couldn’t breathe and vomited several times. EMTs were called. I haven’t found any information on whether the EMTs decided to inject ketamine into Elijah on their own or whether they were instructed to do so by the police officers. Elijah’s heart stopped in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Seven days later, his family allowed doctors to remove him from life support and he died.
No charges were filed against the officers.
Aurora Police Mock Killing of Elijah McClain
Not only are there violent officers and alcoholic officers in the Aurora Police Department, as we wrote about in our previous post, we now get to see how truly vile their officers are and how much of a problem they really have. Thankfully Reporter Brian Maass, with CBS 4, has contacts who alerted him to what was going on. Mr. Maass reported that three officers are being investigated for reenacting the killing of Elijah McClain, at the memorial site where Elijah was killed, and taking photos of the reenactment. Per Reporter Brian Maass‘ Twitter posts,
“My sources say the photos were disseminated within @AuroraPD to other officers and showed the officers reenacting the hold that preceeded McClains death. Question :were the officers on duty and in uniform? Its hard to believe this story could get worse. It just did. @CBSDenver
I have asked @AuroraPD if they will be releasing the photos and identity of the officers who posed. Official response: ‘Since it’s an active IA I can’t give you any other details. We have a statement that should be coming out shortly from the Chief.'”
How Much was the Interim Police Chief Going to Tell Us?
As we noted in our previous post, Interim Police Chief Vanessa Wilson didn’t feel the officers who responded to the call for Officer Meier were intentionally trying to shield him. Though the rot came from the top down, the rot is obviously there. Our opinion is that Chief Wilson doesn’t want to see it. That attitude can’t last if she wants to fix problems.
In the current situation, the one in which officers are glorifying the murder of an innocent Black man, would she have told the public anything? Or would she have continued to “protect” the reputation of the Aurora Police Department and kept quiet about it? The APD didn’t release a statement until an hour after Mr. Maass reported on the incident. In other words, only when they had to because they could no longer hide it. Chief Wilson does say that the information, along with identity of the officers and the photos taken, will be released to the public once the investigation is completed but would that have happened if the information hadn’t been leaked?
But there is one bright spot in this whole mess. It was an officer who reported the pictures. We understand how hard it is for officers to report the misdeeds of other officers. Not because they want to hide them but because law enforcement fosters an attitude of us against them. When you turn against someone in the “us” category, a lot of officers will start treating you like a member of the “them” category. This can be very dangerous. Officers have slow-walked responding or haven’t responded at all to calls for backup from officers they have labeled as snitches.
There may be others who agree with what the officer did (reported the pictures) but are too afraid of retaliation to say anything out loud. We want the officer who reported the pictures to know that you are what saves law enforcement agencies. Your integrity is what the public wants. You are what law enforcement agencies and personnel should aspire to. You have our respect and appreciation. Thank you.