AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — A K-9 officer on scene the night police stopped Elijah McClain has been rehired by the Aurora Police Department.
APD confirmed with FOX31 that Matt Green is now a patrol officer with the department. Green threatened to unleash a police dog on McClain as officers restrained him.
He was never charged in McClain’s death.
Aurora Police Chief Art Acevedo said they followed protocol in the rehire, with him having to go through three entities outside of his office.
Acevedo said Green used the bluff tactic when he threatened to unleash a police dog on McClain. A tactic that the chief said has been used in law enforcement for decades.
“It is a tactic that is authorized in many places to try to take a situation and bring it to a conclusion safely,” Acevedo said.
However, since then, this tactic has been outlawed in Colorado.
“It’s a balance as we move forward as a state and as a community and we just have to be really thoughtful in how we respond,” Acevedo said.
But lawmakers and community members like State Senator Rhonda Fields said there was no reason for this tactic to be used.
“It’s just really hurtful. It’s embarrassing to see this repeated pattern that’s being demonstrated,” she said. “If you do wrong in the Aurora Police Department, you’re either rewarded or you get your job back.”
Senator Fields said she feels it shows a lack of professional integrity.
“It creates shame and an awful stain on our city. And so there should be a vote of lack of confidence in the leadership to get this right,” she said. “It’s time to change the narrative on policing in the City of Aurora.”
Acevedo understands the frustration but said they can only move forward.
“I understand the emotion of the community, but we can’t change it,” he said. “I can just tell you moving forward, I can guarantee you that a lot of lessons have been learned out of this death and this tragic event and as a result, our officers are being better trained and better equipped.”
In addition to those entities, there was also an internal affairs investigation. There will also be a note in the officer’s file.