AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — The organization that represents Aurora police officers says the department’s two current and one former officer who were indicted in the death of Elijah McClain “did nothing wrong.” The three face charges including manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.
The Aurora Police Association’s board of directors issued a statement shortly after the 32-count indictment against the officers and two paramedics was announced Wednesday morning.
McClain died in 2019 following a police altercation in which officers used what is officially called a “carotid hold” technique, briefly restricting blood flow to his brain, and after McClain received a dose of ketamine from paramedics.
The APA wrote that following McClain’s death, “then Aurora Police Department Chief Nick Metz stated clearly that Mr. McClain was not murdered by Aurora Police Department officers. Nothing has changed. Our officers did nothing wrong.”
An independent investigation by the city of Aurora, released in February, found insufficient evidence for police to have stopped and patted-down McClain prior to engaging in the physical altercation with him.
The Nov. 2019 coroner’s report officially found the cause of McClain’s death was undetermined. The APA’s statement claims he died due “exertion” combined with a “pre-existing heart condition.” While the official report said “intense physical exertion and a narrow left coronary artery” contributed to McClain’s death, it also found he may have passed away due to a homicide, an accident or natural causes.
The Aurora Police Association provides and administrative defense, along with other benefits, for its members but does not speak for leadership of the Aurora Police Department or all of its members. Additionally, since 2019 it has not served as the collective bargaining unit for the APD when officers voted to replace it with the Aurora Fraternal of Police Lodge 49.