On Monday, the Aurora City Council unanimously voted to adopt a resolution calling for an independent investigation into Elijah McClain‘s death. The investigation will be led by Jonathan Smith of the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, according to CBSDenver.
From 2010 to 2015, Smith assisted with investigations of civil rights violations by law enforcement for the United States Department of Justice. Smith also assisted with the investigation of the Ferguson, Missouri, police department after the death of Michael Brown.
A three-member team will lead the investigation into McClain’s death along with at least three additional consultants. Council members said they are searching for panelists with backgrounds in criminal justice, medicine and civil rights.
McClain was stopped on August 24, 2019, by cops who were responding to a report of a “suspicious” person in Aurora, Colorado. According to The Gazette, McClain was on his way home from a gas station where he purchased four cans of Brisk tea. Eventually, the confrontation between the police and McClain, a 23-year-old massage therapist, escalated and cops put him in a chokehold. He was also forced to the ground for 15 minutes, and he eventually started vomiting and saying that he couldn’t breathe.
“There was a physical struggle,” former APD Chief Nick Metz said back in October. “When (police) saw (McClain), they told him to stop. He wouldn’t stop. Again, he was wearing a ski mask, it’s 10:30 p.m. at night in a residential area, so obviously that creates some concern.”
However, according to Elijah’s family, he was anemic and he useably wore a ski mask to keep his face warm while he was outside walking. Metz went on to say that McClain was in an “agitated mental state,” which caused the cops to request backup from Aurora Fire paramedics, who injected McClain with sedative ketamine to respond to his reported anxiety. While in the ambulance vehicle to the hospital, McClain went into cardiac arrest and he eventually died at the hospital on August 30 after being taken off life support.
By June 2020, Aurora eventually terminated its contract with the attorney selected to helm the McClain death investigation after members of the Aurora City Council voiced their concerns over his neutrality.
The third-party investigation led by Smith will not bring criminal charges. However, the team will submit a written report to the city council with policy recommendations for the police, fire and EMT departments. The investigation will go over policies, including calls for service, calls for medical assistance, police contact with individuals, use of force, ketamine use, and administrative incident reviews.
Along with the independent investigation, Governor Jared Polis has appointed the Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser as a Special Prosecutor to review the case. The Department of Justice is also reviewing the case for a potential civil rights investigation.
The three police officers involved in McClain’s death have not been charged. They were removed from patrol duty back in June.
One of the cops, Jason Rosenblatt, was fired after his response to a photo text message, in which three APD officers posed for a photo reenacting the carotid restraint used on McClain. All three fired officers have appealed their terminations.
This is #DijonKizzee, 29 yrs old and shot and killed by LA Sheriffs after being stopped for a bike violation. Cops handcuffed his lifeless body. While police investigations can drag on for months/years, cops have already claimed he ran away, and dropped clothes and a gun. #BLMpic.twitter.com/pM6mQfWLeQ
in an attempt to disperse crowds, #DavidMcAtee, a louisville bbq chef known for serving cops free meals, was shot and killed by the police last night. he was unarmed. not only were the officers’ bodycams off, but they also left his body on the street for 12 hours. say his name. pic.twitter.com/kqOPku8iuQ
They murdered my cousin. How do you have someone in handcuffs and in a seat belt and shoot them multilpe times.All cops aren't bad but those were. I will fight with the last breath in me for justice. William Green was a family man, a working man. Funny. Loving. Love and miss you. pic.twitter.com/PhM3a6C7uj
This is a 2019 mugshot of the murder suspect Cobb police shot & killed today. Samuel Mallard, 19, was previously arrested for impersonating officers a half dozen times. In the 2020 case, the GBI says he’s involved in a murder/robbery. CCPD says there are other suspects. @wsbtvhttps://t.co/7EfuVQLmNBpic.twitter.com/ttWg5HjFkj
This is Jaquavion Slaton, the 20-year-old who was was shot & killed by Fort Worth Police on Sunday. Community demanding release of body camera video, but FWPD hasn’t said when/if that will happen. #WFAApic.twitter.com/iakQyWrRCl
Continue reading 88 Black Men And Boys Killed By Police
88 Black Men And Boys Killed By Police
UPDATED: 9:55 a.m. ET, Sept. 3, 2020 --
Police shooting and killing Black males is all but a centuries-old American tradition among law enforcement in the U.S. But the fact that this apparent rite of police passage is still thriving in 2020 and only seems to be gaining momentum instead of slowing should give any American citizen pause as an increasing number of Black people -- especially males both young and old -- continue to be added to a growing list of victims with what seems like a new shooting every week.
Following what seemed like a brief respite of police killing unarmed Black people, the unfortunate trend has made a comeback in a major way in recent weeks with a number of shootings that have been described as nothing short of murder. However, whether the shootings are justified or not, the same lethal force use against Black suspects is rarely seen with white people suspected of doing worse.
Case in point: In just the past few days, it's been reported that four Black men had been killed by police officers from separate departments across the country. Two of those shootings involve cops shooting their targets in the back.
That was the situation in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday when officers killed Deon Kay ,18, by shooting him in the back. The Metropolitan Police Department defended the officers involved by saying in a press release that "one of the [two] suspects brandished a firearm" while fleeing. (A little more than a week earlier, Kyle Rittenhouse, a white 17-year-old, illegally armed himself with an assault rifle, brandished it in front of police and lived to tell about it without sustaining any injury.) Protests quickly ensued and the Washington Post reported that some community residents "questioned the police account."
Kay's killing came one day after the Democrat & Chronicle reported that police in Rochester, New York, suffocated a 41-year-old Black man to death while he was in mental distress months ago. Daniel Prude was "lynched" by police, his brother said about the March 23 incident when cops tried to restrain the naked man who was suspected of being under the influence of drugs. Video of the killing was made public by lawyers representing Prude's family, which has called for the officers involved to be arrested and charged with murder. The video is extremely graphic and should be viewed with disrection.
Similarly, police in Texas on Aug. 25 killed Damian Daniels, a military veteran who was shot twice in the chest in front of his newly purchased home after cops were dispatched there to perform a wellness check last week on someone they knew suffered from mental illness. The lawyer representing his family said Daniels was a combat veteran who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and was previously “the subject of four mental health-related calls” without incident.
All of the above incidents were preventable, but perhaps none more so than the shooting of Dijon Kizzee, who police targeted for an unspecified "vehicle code violation" while he was riding his bike Monday in Los Angeles. When he fled on foot, police shot him multiple times in the back under the purported guise that Kizzee had a gun. However, civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who is representing Kizzee's family, tweeted a video of the shooting that threw into question the police's account.
Kizzee's killing came about a week after the death of Trayford Pellerin in Lafayette, Louisiana, on Aug. 21. The 31-year-old was shot and killed as he tried to enter. convenience store, where cops responded to reports of a man with a knife. While details were still being sorted out, it's tough to imagine multiple police officers armed with both lethal and nonlethal weapons who have been trained to de-escalate situations like these legitimately fearing for their lives in the face of a man with a knife.
[caption id="attachment_4002256" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Trayford Pellerin, at right. | Source: Treneca Pellerin / GoFundMe[/caption]
Pellerin was killed just two days before police in Wisconsin shot Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, in his back multiple times. Amazingly, Blake -- who was unarmed when he was shot -- survived his shooting.
Those two shootings followed the deadly police violence against Black people like David McAtee, who was killed while demonstrating after the in-custody killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. McAtee, also unarmed at the time of his death, was a businessman in Louisville, Kentucky, where police had recently killed Breonna Taylor in her own home. McAtee was killed when police and the National Guard recklessly returned fire from people shooting at them, hitting McAtee fatally. It was the latest botched response for a police department buried in scandal.
[caption id="attachment_3952732" align="alignnone" width="622"] Source: Twitter[/caption]
McAtee's death came days after Floyd was purportedly suspected of forgery, a nonviolent crime that certainly didn't warrant Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin handcuffing him and kneeling on the 46-year-old Black man's neck until he died.
On May 6, police in Indianapolis shot and killed Sean Reed, a 21-year-old U.S. military veteran who was unarmed. Unbeknownst to the cops, Reed was live-streaming the episode on Facebook, a circumstance that allowed the police to be recorded joking about the shooting.
Some of the other victims' names include but certainly aren't limited to: Tamir Rice; Botham Shem Jean; E.J. Bradford; and Michael Brown. But two of the most recent names that can tragically be included in this deadly equation are Michael Dean, a 28-year-old father who police shot in the head on Dec. 3, 2019, and Jamee Johnson, a 22-year-old HBCU student who police shot to death after a questionable traffic stop on Dec. 14, 2019.
One of the most distressing parts of this seemingly nonstop string of police killings of Black people is the fact that more times than not, the officer involved in the shooting can hide behind the claim that they feared for their lives -- even if the victim was shot in the back, as has become the case for so many deadly episodes involving law enforcement. In a handful of those cases -- such as Antwon Rose, a 13-year-old boy killed in Pittsburgh, and Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old killed in Sacramento, both of whom were unarmed -- the officers either avoided being criminally charged altogether or were acquitted despite damning evidence that the cops' lives were not threatened and there was no cause for them to resort to lethal force or any violence for that matter.
Crump, who has been retained in so many of these cases, described the above scenarios in his new book, "Open Season," as the "genocide" of Black people.
As NewsOne continues covering these shootings that so often go ignored by mainstream media, the below running list (in no certain order) of Black men and boys who have been shot and killed by police under suspicious circumstances can serve as a tragic reminder of the dangers Black and brown citizens face upon being born into a world of hate that has branded them as suspects since birth.