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Aurora police open investigation after officers photographed near Elijah McClain memorial

Posted at 7:56 AM, Jun 30, 2020

AURORA, Colo. – Aurora Interim Chief of Police Vanessa Wilson has opened an internal affairs investigation in connection with the alleged behavior of several police officers at the site where Elijah McClain was approached and arrested by police last year.

In a statement, Wilson said she learned Thursday "of allegations by an Aurora Police Officer alleging multiple Aurora Police officers were depicted in photographs near the site where Elijah McClain died."

The cryptic late-night statement by Wilson does not go into details about what those photographs show, but they were serious enough to immediately order an internal affairs investigation. That investigation was completed Monday evening, Wilson said.

The officers involved were all placed on paid administrative leave in non-enforcement capacities, according to a prepared statement.

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

Monday’s announcement is the latest in a series of public relations disasters over the past year for the embattled police department.

Earlier Monday, Wilson spoke to KMGH and other local news outlets after her officers pepper-sprayed protesters during a Saturday demonstration in which hundreds gathered to demand justice in the death of the 23-year-old, who died after the encounter with police in August of last year. Wilson made no mention of this internal affairs investigation Monday evening, despite pledging to show transparency and rebuild trust in the department when she took on the job at the beginning of the year.

Wilson defended the actions of the officers, claiming agitators were throwing rocks at officers and were trying to breach fences protecting the Aurora Police Department headquarters.

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman has called for a special city council meeting Tuesday to hear from police about their response to Saturday's protests over the death of Elijah McClain.

This story was originally published by Óscar Contreras at KMGH.