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An independent investigation into the death of a 23-year-old Elijah mcclain after an August 2019 arrest by Aurora, Colo., officers describe how the situation has been mismanaged and recommend the city to reassess its use of force policies and revise its internal review process.

The investigative committee was not tasked with determining whether officers committed crimes or violated policies, but rather investigating the actions of officers and rescue personnel in the event of a fire, creating a timeline events and prepare a written report with recommendations. He released the 157-page report on Monday ahead of an expected investigative team presentation at a special city council session on Monday night, CBS Denver reported.

McClain, who was black, was driving home from a convenience store wearing a ski mask when someone called 911 to report a suspicious person. Officers on arrival attempted to stop the unarmed man, using a carotid grip – a technique where pressure is exerted on both sides of the neck – and pinning him to the ground. Aurora fire department personnel then injected her with the sedative ketamine. He suffered a heart attack and was subsequently removed from the life support system.

The report released on Monday found that officers responding acted very quickly to take McClain into custody – an officer got hold of McClain within 10 seconds of getting out of his patrol car – and apparently did not assess whether there was reasonable suspicion that a crime had been committed.

Independent report details how police and EMS mismanaged Elijah McClain’s fatal arrest
Elijah mcclain

The report found that some level of force or threat of force was used “almost constantly” against McClain in the 18 minutes from when police first approached him until that it is placed on a stretcher for transport to the hospital. The force included an attempted and successful carotid grip and various “pain-relief” techniques such as cuffs, wrist locks and agents applying their knees to McClain’s muscles, the report says. Officers justified the use of force saying that McClain resisted and displayed extraordinary strength, but the body camera audio portrayed an entirely different scenario, the report said.

“The audio captured by the body-worn camera contains two very contrasting accounts – on the one hand, Mr. McClain pleads, apologizes and expresses his pain, and on the other hand, officers continue to perceive a resistance “, according to the report.

McClain can be heard gagging and vomiting and sometimes saying he couldn’t breathe. At one point, an officer was told to “get up from your chest,” according to the report.

“It is not known whether Mr. McClain’s movements, interpreted by officers as resistance, were attempts to flee or simply efforts, voluntary or involuntary, to prevent painful force from being applied to him, to improve his condition. breathing or to meet his need to vomit, ”the report says.

The report found that the use of force did not decline even after McClain was handcuffed and became “progressively sicker and less responsive.” The panel found that the department’s major crimes unit did not properly investigate the continued use of force after McClain was handcuffed, including continuous pain control techniques “in response to almost everyone. movements”.

“The officers were still discussing keeping the pressure on until Mr. McClain was injected with ketamine – and even if he didn’t appear to be moving at that time,” according to the report.

Paramedics who responded did not immediately provide care to McClain and accepted officers’ suggestion that he was suffering from “excited delirium” without assessing him, according to the report. Paramedics also overestimated McClain’s weight before administering the ketamine, affecting the weight-based dosage calculation, according to the report.

The report notes that use of force best practices require officers to continually reassess their use of force at all times to determine whether force is still in proportion to the situation. He concluded that officers “did not appear to reassess the threat as circumstances changed, but instead continued to use force justified by circumstances that had since been addressed.”

The report also notes that Aurora police policy allows officers to use “only reasonable and appropriate force, and only when the law warrants.”

“Where possible, officers will attempt to reduce their use of force and / or the situation so that less force or no force is required,” the ministry’s policy said, according to the report.

The Aurora Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit, which examined the officer’s use of force, conducted interviews that were “neither in depth nor in depth as one would expect in the case. death in custody ”. The report called the investigation “flawed”.

“The post-incident review of Mr. McClain’s death is a matter of serious concern to the committee and revealed significant weaknesses in the ministry’s accountability systems,” the report revealed.

The investigation was commissioned by Aurora City Council in July 2020 and led by Jonathan Smith, executive director of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.

The committee recommends that the Aurora Police Department review its use of force policies to determine if they reflect force should be minimized and avoided where possible. It also suggests that the ministry review the training and supervision of officers with respect to the development of reasonable suspicion or probable cause before a person is detained, searched or arrested. The committee recommends that the Aurora Fire Department conduct a review of its culture to ensure patient safety and review all policies related to patient sedation. In addition, the committee recommends that the City of Aurora revise its post-incident review process.

The three officers involved in McClain’s death were removed from their patrol duties in June 2020. They were not charged, but one of them, Jason Rosenblatt, was subsequently fired when he texted “haha” in response to a photo of other officers. imitating strangulation used on McClain.

The Colorado attorney general’s office has opened a grand jury investigation into McClain’s death and the US Department of Justice is investigating whether McClain’s civil rights have been violated.

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