Three Colorado police officers involved in a deadly confrontation with a 23-year-old black man last year were transferred to “non-compliance” duties as Elijah McClain’s arrest gained renewed scrutiny, officials said Friday.
The Aurora Police Department said the action was carried out “in an effort to protect those officers” who arrested McClain on August 24 in a fight that ended in his death.
“They are now working in a non-compliance capacity,” Det. Faith Goodrich said. “This may be in a variety of different tasks, but it is generally administrative in nature.”
Officers Nathan Woodyard and Jason Rosenblatt were transferred to office duty on June 13, and officer Randy Roedema was reassigned on June 20, authorities said.
McClain was pronounced dead on August 27, three days after he was confronted by police officers answering a call about a suspicious person in the area.
Officers applied a strangle during the confrontation, authorities said.
The police call was received at 10:32 pm on August 24, reporting that a “suspicious person” was “walking down Billings Street near East Colfax Avenue, wearing a ski mask and waving his arms at the person who was Call, “authorities said.
McClain often wore a balaclava when he was cold, his family said, and it would have been in the mid-1960s that night, according to weather records.
“The man would not stop walking down the officer’s street,” according to a police statement at the time. “The man resisted contact, a fight ensued and he was detained.”
The Adams and Broomfield counties coroner found that McClain’s death was due to “indeterminate causes.” But the coroner did not rule out whether the police choke, in addition to the sedative ketamine injected into McClain by paramedics, could have contributed to his death.
Protesters across the country have been calling for measures against systemic racism and police brutality since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.