Elijah McClain’s family to conduct probe into why police were cleared in his death.

Warning: This video contains disturbing content. Discretion advised. Colorado governor appoints special prosecutor to probe death of Elijah McClain

The lawyer for the family of Elijah McClain, a Black man who died after being stopped by suburban Denver police last year because he was “being suspicious,” said Friday she and McClain’s relatives will conduct their own investigation of an official inquiry that cleared three white police officers of wrongdoing.

Mari Newman told The Associated Press the decision reflects her suspicions toward government investigations of cases of alleged police misconduct. It comes a day after Democratic Gov. Jared Polis announced he was appointing Attorney General Phil Weiser to re-investigate and possibly prosecute the officers.

“After over two decades of doing this work, my experience is that families cannot rely on the government to police itself,” Newman said. “And so my work is to continue to seek justice through the civil justice system so we’re doing our own investigation and preparing a civil rights lawsuit.”

Newman declined to elaborate or provide details about the independent investigation.

“We know that the police can’t police themselves and we know that district attorneys don’t charge the police officers because they rely on police in their other prosecutions,” she said.

Police in Aurora responded to a call of a suspicious person wearing a ski mask and waving his arms as he walked down a street on Aug. 24. They say McClain, 23, refused to stop walking and fought back when officers confronted him and tried to take him into custody.

“I have a right to stop you because you’re being suspicious,” an officer is heard on a body camera recording telling McClain. The encounter happened as McClain, a certified massage therapist and self-taught violin player, was running an errand.

Trending Stories

  • 18 family members test positive for COVID-19 following birthday party in Texas

  • Ontario reports 111 new coronavirus cases, lowest single-day increase since March 25

To subdue McClain, officers used a chokehold that cuts off blood to the brain — a tactic recently banned in several places in the wake of George Floyd’s death last month in Minneapolis. Paramedics arrived soon after and administered 500 milligrams of a sedative to calm McClain down. In less than a week, McClain suffered cardiac arrest, was declared brain dead and taken off life support.

Weiser promised a thorough investigation in a statement Thursday. He said it will be “guided by the facts, and worthy of public trust and confidence in the criminal justice system.”

An email and telephone call to Weiser’s office for comment Friday weren’t immediately returned.

While the appointment of the attorney general isn’t “business as usual,” Newman said, it’s an acknowledgement of the special circumstances surrounding McClain’s death.

“A true, thorough, independent investigation should not be contingent on a case that garners the public outcry from three million signatures on a petition and international media attention,” Newman said, referring to a change.org petition online petition demanding justice for McClain.

“So while I appreciate the governor stepping up and stepping in, it’s unfortunate that that doesn’t happen in every case,” she added.

Aurora’s city council will debate July 6 whether to hire another third-party investigator after a previous one was fired because he is a former police officer. Newman said she’s distrustful of that process.

Three officers were placed on leave but returned to the force after District Attorney Dave Young said there was insufficient evidence to support charging them.

“Ultimately, while I may share the vast public opinion that Elijah McClain’s death could have been avoided, it is not my role to file criminal charges based on opinion, but rather, on the evidence revealed from the investigation and applicable Colorado law,” Young said Thursday.

Newman said “without a doubt” all of those involved should be fired: “Their behaviour demonstrates that they are not suited to carry that badge.”

© 2020 The Canadian Press

Related news

Beijing Claims In South China Sea «Unlawful» , Says Mike Pompeo.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that the United States would treat Beijing's pursuit of resources in the dispute-rife South China Sea as illegal, ramping up pressure on another front.

U.S. deficit reaches record high at $864 billion for June

That amount was also tied to the trillions of dollars Congress has provided to cushion the impact of the widespread shutdowns that occurred in an effort to limit the spread of the viral pandemic.

Polish president elected to 2nd term after harsh campaign.

Duda received 51.03 per cent of Sunday's vote, while Trzaskowski got 48.97 per cent, according to final results Monday from the state electoral commission.

1 3

Kyiv Court Eases Pretrial Restrictions For Suspect In Sheremet's Killing.

A Kyiv court has eased pretrial restrictions for one of the suspects in the high-profile 2016 killing of journalist Pavel Sheremet in the Ukrainian capital.

1 1

‘Scariest place on Earth’: Disney World mocked for opening amid virus spike.

Disney World and its eager customers are facing sharp criticism for opening during record-setting coronavirus numbers in Florida.

1 5422

By continuing to browse World News (UAZMI), you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and agree to the use of cookies