Three officers in Aurora, Colorado have been placed on administrative leave with pay as an investigation is conducted into photos taken “near the site where Elijah McClain died” showing them allegedly reenacting the chokehold used on him, CBS Denver reports.
Aurora Police Department Interim Police Chief Vanessa Wilson said she learned of the photos on Thursday after the allegation was reported to Internal Affairs. Wilson pledged to release the investigation in its entirety once it is completed on Monday evening. “This will include reports, photographic evidence obtained, officer’s names, and my final determination which can rise to the level of termination,” she said.
On Aug. 24, 2019, McClain was confronted by three Aurora officers—Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt, and Randy Roedema—who received a call about someone wearing a ski mask and flailing his arms.
When those three cops arrived, an alleged struggle ensued before McClain was placed in a carotid restraint by Woodyard, and held onto the ground for 15 minutes. Even though the officers allege that their body cams were knocked off during the scuffle, the footage still contains some disturbing audio in which McClain can be heard saying that he wasn’t resisting arrest, as well as instances where he’s gasping for air, sobbing, vomiting, and apologizing for it.
Paramedics injected a distressed McClain with ketamine to calm him down, but he suffered two cardiac arrests en route to the hospital, and was pronounced brain dead three days later. He died on Aug. 30.
The three officers were removed from patrol duty earlier this month.