AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) – Although it is more than two years since the death of Elijah McClain, the news of the charges against police officers and paramedics in his death marks the beginning of the case for those involved.
Many in the law enforcement community are concerned about the impact the indictment will have on recruiting new officers and on retaining the experienced officers who are considering leaving the force.
Here’s what law enforcement leaders and FOX31’s legal analysts had to say about the case.
Criminal Defense Attorney Chris Decker
“This case is unique in so many different ways,” said FOX31 legal analyst Chris Decker. “It’s unique in terms of the underlying facts. It is unique in terms of the way through the criminal justice system. It is unique in terms of its timing in society and the issues of police reform and police responsibility that are happening. ”
“This is an extremely high-profile case,” Decker said. “This caused national media to give reasons that are quite understandable, that it is a tragic, tragic situation where a young man really did not have to die. And the question here is what was behind the fact that death was a criminal, if it was criminal, what crimes were committed, if it was not criminal, what can we learn from it. ”
“No one has been convicted. “It’s just accusations that these officers are presumed innocent, but it is significant that the grand jury has come together, listened to the evidence presented to them and given charges and charges for these very, very serious crimes.” said Decker.
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser
Weiser asked for patience.
“All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, our department has solum duty to prosecute this case, we are not mistaken, we recognize that this case will be difficult to prosecute, such cases are always. Our goal is to seek justice for Elijah McClain for his family and friends and for our state in this way we promote the rule of law and commit ourselves to everyone being accountable and just under the law.Many of you will have questions as this case progresses “We understand that, and we want you to understand that we are limited to what we can say and will talk to us in court,” Weiser said.
Aurora City Manager Jim Twombly
Twombly repeated Weiser’s feelings.
“We respect the legal process and ask that everyone else do the same,” Twombly said in a written statement.
Aurora Police Union
“We believe our officers are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. We stand 100% behind them, ”President Marc Sears told FOX31’s Deborah Takahara.
Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson
“I know this has been a long-awaited decision for Mrs. McClain and her family,” Wilson said. “This tragedy will forever be marked by our society. We continue to condole for the loss of Elijah and we will continue to cooperate with the legal process. ”
Aurora Fire Chief Fernando Gray
“For more than two years, our community has been mourning a precious life,” Gray said. “Our society demanded answers and constantly questioned the circumstances surrounding Elias’ death, and we are committed to fully cooperating as the judicial process progresses. We will once again share our deepest expressions of sympathy to the family members and friends of Elijah McClain. ”
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