Colo. officers placed on leave as police investigate photos connected to Elijah McClain death

The photographs were taken near the 1900 block of Billings Street in Aurora, where McClain was stopped on Aug. 24


By Kieran Nicholson
The Denver Post

AURORA, Colo. — Multiple Aurora police officers have been place on administrative leave pending an internal investigation into photographs of officers in connection to the death of Elijah McClain.

Interim Chief of Police Vanessa Wilson released a statement at 10 p.m. Monday saying she was apprised Thursday afternoon 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.”

Demonstrators move along Interstate 225 during a rally and march over the death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain Saturday, June 27, 2020, in Aurora, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Demonstrators move along Interstate 225 during a rally and march over the death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain Saturday, June 27, 2020, in Aurora, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The questionable photographs were taken near the 1900 block of Billings Street in Aurora, where McClain was stopped on Aug. 24 and wrestled to the ground by three officers.

McClain, who weighed 140 pounds, was held on the ground and officer Nathan Woodyard applied a “carotid control hold” around McClain’s neck. McClain was handcuffed with his hands behind his back. He vomited several times. He was given a shot of ketamine and taken to a local hospital where he later died.

An Aurora police spokesman would not talk specifically about the photographs on Monday night, pending later public release.

All the officers being investigated have been “placed on administrative leave with pay in non-enforcement capacities,” the statement said.

Wilson said she immediately ordered an internal investigation, making it a “top priority” and that the “accelerated investigation was completed” Monday evening.

The internal investigation will now go to an investigative review board, which will then present it to Wilson.

“This investigation will be publicly released in its entirety promptly upon its conclusion,” Wilson said in the statement. “This will include reports, photographic evidence obtained, officer’s names, and my final determination which can rise to the level of termination.”

©2020 The Denver Post

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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