AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — The results of an independent Elijah McClain death investigation commissioned by the City of Aurora were released last week, following a six-month investigation into the 23-year-old’s death.
The report, which was not intended to assess whether misconduct occurred, instead focused on policies within the involved departments, and how they could be improved.
Tuesday, Aurora City Council members were given their first chance to ask questions to the panel, most involving the panel’s opinion on whether McClain’s stop and detainment were legal.
“Is there a constitutional requirement to stop if a police officer tells you to stop?” asked Council member Curtis Gardner
“No, there’s not,” said panel member Jonathan Smith. “In fact, you have a constitutional right to go along your way when you encounter a police officer, unless that officer has reasonable suspicion that you’ve committed a crime, you’re about to commit a crime or you’re committing a crime then.”
Each council member was given five minutes to ask questions, with most centering around specific language used in the findings.
Prior to the meeting, Council member Dave Gruber told FOX31 he had issues with the panel’s findings, saying they painted a bad light on the officers involved.
“This was an incredibly tragic death,” said Gruber. “But under the facts of the case, the officers’ actions were not criminal, and the implications of the report were that they were.”
Gruber also says he was concerned with Jonathan Smith, a civil rights attorney, being included on the panel.
“The civil rights attorney went in with the assumption that it was a civil rights case, and lo and behold, the conclusion was that it was a violation of civil rights,” said Gruber. “I don’t think any of that is fair.”
The panel did not discuss whether there was criminal or civil liability in the case.