Colorado attorney general investigating Aurora police for possible civil rights violations

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AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser’s office announced Tuesday it is investigating allegations of patterns and practices of civil rights violations at the Aurora Police Department.

APD has faced scrutiny for a number of incidents in recent years, including the death of Elijah McClain and the failure to investigate an officer for driving under the influence after he was found passed out in his patrol car while on duty. Earlier this month, a Black family was detained in a parking lot when officers thought they had encountered a stolen vehicle.

The Attorney General’s Office said the investigation has been underway for several weeks. It is separate from one announced in June, which is specifically tied to McClain’s death.

APD Chief Vanessa Wilson issued the following statement about the new investigation:

“Today, Chief Wilson was personally contacted by Attorney General Phil Weiser and informed about his decision to open a pattern and practices investigation pursuant to Colorado Revised Statute 24-31-113 into the Aurora Police Department.  Chief Wilson pledged the APD’s full cooperation with this investigation.  We remain steadfast in our commitment to transparency and earning the trust of our community back.”

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman expressed disappointment in the investigation:

The AG’s reviews are also separate from an independent investigation into McClain’s death that is being led by civil rights attorney Jonathan Smith.

Moreover, earlier Tuesday, the City of Aurora announced a new “comprehensive review” of the police department as a whole, which will be conducted alongside 21CP Solutions, “a global firm of experts in the areas of civil rights and public safety.”

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