Aurora to establish panel to review Elijah McClain case

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AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — The city of Aurora is considering hiring a committee of experts to independently investigate the death of Elijah McClain.

On Monday, city leaders revealed more about the scope of that investigation during a virtual study session with city council members.

Aurora’s city manager, Jim Twombly, recommended the creation of a panel of both national and local experts with backgrounds in Civil Rights, the criminal justice system and medicine.

It’s been nearly a year since Aurora police encountered Elijah McCain. The incident led to McClain’s hospitalization and eventual death. District Attorney Dave Young never charged the officers. McClain was walking home at night while wearing a ski mask when officers approached him.

Amid public pressure, Colorado’s attorney general is investigating the case. The U.S. Department of Justice has revealed, it too, is reviewing the case.

On the local level, a third party investigation is being designed to review Aurora policies and to determine if policies were followed by First Responders.

“We’re having this conversation because of people who have organized,” said Councilwoman Crystal Murillo during the virtual meeting. “I know my council colleagues can attest to the thousands of emails that we’ve gotten.”

Aurora politicians have felt the pressure amid recent protests and the PR nightmare of a picture showing Aurora officers mocking McClain.

“This community wants closure,” said Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman. “ … as soon as we can move this process forward to have a team on the ground, I think that would be appreciated by many.”

The proposal to launch Aurora’s independent investigation goes to a public safety committee on the July 16 and could receive a vote before the full city council on the July 20.

It’s unclear if the independent investigation could lead to terminations.

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