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Officers on paid leave for inappropriate photos of them at Elijah McClain’s memorial

The photos reportedly show the officers reenacting the carotid restraint that was used on McClain.

Elijah McClain Facebook

Three Aurora, Colorado police officers have been placed on paid leave while authorities investigate their involvement with the inappropriate photos that were taken at Elijah McClain’s memorial site.

According to CBS News, the officers were removed from patrol duty last week. The photos reportedly show the officers “reenacting the carotid restraint that was used on McClain.” CBS 4’s Brian Maass tweeted that the entire investigation, including the photos, will be released to the public. He also said that the pictures were reported by another officer.

“Thursday (June 25) afternoon, I was apprised of allegations reported to Internal Affairs by an Aurora Police Officer alleging multiple Aurora Police officers were depicted in photographs near the site where Elijah McClain died,” said interim police chief Vanessa Wilson. “All involved officers were immediately placed on administrative leave with pay in non-enforcement capacities.”

On August 24, 2019, the 23-year-old was walking home from a store run at night in Aurora. He was wearing a ski mask because he was anemic, according to his family, and needed to keep warm. Someone called the police saying they spotted a “suspicious man” and the officers quickly arrived.

Police claim they told McClain to “stop,” but he didn’t and officers began to get physical with him. He was allegedly placed in a chokehold and held on the ground for 15 minutes. He reportedly vomited and yelled out “I can’t breathe” as he was restrained. Aurora paramedics were called to assist and injected McClain with Ketamine, while he was already unconscious. He went into cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and fell into a coma. A few days later, he was taken off life support and died.

Almost four million people have signed the petition demanding justice for McClain. The City of Aurora has since banned carotid pressure holds and made it official that officers have to intervene if they believe colleagues are violating their department policy. Officers are also not required to make contact with someone who has been reported as suspicious, but rather see if a crime will be committed.

The City Council and City Manager are also working together to complete an independent investigation into McClain’s death. If you would like to sign the petition, click here.

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