September 1, 2021
DENVER – The following statement can be attributed to Deborah Richardson, Executive Director of ACLU of Colorado.
“Two years after Elijah Jovan McClain, a 23-year-old African American, a beloved brother and son, a massage therapist and gifted violinist, died at the hands of Aurora police and first responders, two of the three police officers directly involved in his death still work at the department. Six months after the Aurora independent investigation report confirmed that police had no grounds to stop Mr. McClain in the first place and no adequate basis to direct paramedics to administer an excessive dose of ketamine, the department and those involved had yet to be held accountable for their actions.
Today’s announcement by Attorney General Phil Weiser of a 32-count indictment against three police officers and two paramedics is a necessary next step in ensuring that the deeply-embedded systemic failures of the city of Aurora will finally begin to change. Historically, the internal culture of policing normalized the treatment Mr. McClain experienced and was callously written off. Hopefully, this law enforcement abuse will no longer be tolerated. The arc of the moral universe has been too long and painful for Elijah and his family. Our responsibility is to demand it bend toward justice.”
ACLU of Colorado is the state’s oldest civil rights organization, protecting and defending the civil rights of all Coloradans through litigation, education and advocacy.