DENVER (KDVR) — Gov. Jared Polis announced Wednesday afternoon that he has instructed his legal counsel to examine the investigation into the death of Elijah McClain.
“Public confidence in our law enforcement process is incredibly important now more than ever. A fair and objective process free from real or perceived bias for investigating officer-involved killings is critical,” Polis said via Twitter. “I am hearing from many Coloradans who have expressed concerns with the investigation of Elijah McClain’s death. As a result, I have instructed my legal council (sic) to examine what the state can do and we are assessing next steps.”
McClain was 23 years old when he died following an altercation with Aurora police in August 2019.
In November, District Attorney Dave Young chose not to file charges against the three officers who were involved the altercation. At least two officers told investigators they used or attempted to use a carotid hold on McClain after they said he tried to grab an officer’s gun.
A coroner could not rule out multiple possibilities – including the officers’ actions – as contributors to McClain’s death. Paramedics also injected McClain with the sedative ketamine when they arrived on the scene.
The three white officers initially approached McClain, who is Black, as he was walking home from a convenience store because he was wearing a mask, and a 911 caller reported that McClain looked suspicious.
McClain was not committing a crime and did not have a weapon when officers approached him.
Following the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, there have been growing demands to fire and charge the officers and paramedics involved in McClain’s death.
On Wednesday afternoon, Aurora City Council’s Public Safety Policy Committee published a letter to City Manager Jim Twombly asking him to expedite the selection of an independent investigator into the McClain case.
While an investigator had been selected, he was removed from the case earlier this month due to his previous experience in law enforcement.