Aurora against deadline to develop consent decree agreement with Attorney General

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Aurora, Colo. (KDVR) – The City of Aurora is facing its deadline to develop a consent decree agreement with the Attorney General after the Colorado Department of Law, in Sept., announced investigators had found a pattern and practice of civil rights violations committed by Aurora’s police and fire departments.

Aurora city leaders had 60 days, as of Sept. 15, to work with Colorado’s Department of Law to develop an agreement that would lead to the implementation of specific changes and independent oversight at the city.

With no agreement, the Attorney General could pursue court-ordered remedies. However, the city has been cooperative with negotiations.

“The pattern and practice statute that gives the Attorney General authority to conduct these investigations has a period of 60 days from the time a report was issued for the state and the government entity to engage in negotiations to come up with a solution to address the issues outlined in the report,” said Lawrence Pacheco, a spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Office, “So the 60 days is a period to conduct those negotiations before the Attorney General could bring any legal action on his own.”

A press conference to announce developments is expected this week, though Pacheco would not confirm that.

Earlier this year, the Attorney General, Phil Weiser, announced that Aurora’s Police Department “has a pattern and practice of violating state and federal law through racially biased policing, using excessive force, and failing to record legally required information when interacting with the community.”

The state investigative team also found “Aurora Fire had a pattern and practice of administering ketamine in violation of the law.”

As part of the investigation, the Department of Law required the city to pay for an independent monitor who would report progress updates to the public.

“We want Aurora to succeed in these improvements and strongly believe that an agreement provides the best way to do so,” Weiser said in a Sept. press release.

In early Nov., Weiser said the search had begun for that independent monitor so that person’s oversight could begin when the consent decree was finalized.

“The ultimate goal of any consent decree is to implement meaningful and lasting change that will support the City of Aurora and its residents as it works to improve and build trust in law enforcement,” Weiser said.

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