AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — The community, local leaders and Elijah McClain’s family are speaking out following the attorney general’s investigation into Aurora’s police and fire departments.
On Wednesday, Attorney General Phil Weiser announced that his investigation found a pattern of illegal use of ketamine and racially biased policing in Aurora since at least 2018.
‘There has been something wrong with the Aurora Police Department’
Elijah McClain’s mother, Sheneen, said the report feels like validation.
“To me, it just proves that there has been something wrong with the Aurora Police Department and the officials that are governing them for a long time,” she said.
Her attorney, Qusair Mohamedbhai, echoed her sentiment, adding that he was not surprised with the content of the report.
“Our law firm has been litigating against the City of Aurora and its police department for decades,” he said.
‘This is not quite celebration time’
The findings come after two years of protests and activism in Aurora following the death of McClain. But many people in the community, like Candice Bailey, have been fighting for change for much longer.
“I think people are sharing a lot and they are ready to celebrate, but this is not quite celebration time,” she said. “Sadly, this was off the back of murdered black men, women [and] children.”
While the report and its high-profile status are encouraging, Bailey said it is difficult to see it as a true step forward in Aurora.
“I feel like it’s a cha cha at this point. I feel like we’re taking steps forward and we’re pushing back and we’re back and forth and back and forth,” she said. “It’s going to take a lot of different forms of negotiation and movement and action in order to get things changed.”
Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman released the following statement:
“Most of the findings are not new and our Chiefs of Police and Fire Rescue have been working hard for over a year to address many of them. I’m confident that the issues raised in the Attorney General’s report, along with other outside investigations commissioned by our city, will be corrected and that we will achieve an outcome that respects the rights of everyone who lives and works in our diverse community.”Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman
In response, Bailey said: “Do I believe that there is going to be a significant change in the way that things happen? Not without all of the pressure that is currently attempting to be exhibited.”
However, she added: “But what I really see right now is that we have the possibility for change.”