AURORA, Colo. — The three Aurora Police officers involved in the arrest of Elijah McClain have been taken off the streets and moved to other duties, the department confirmed Friday.
“This was done in an effort to protect those officers,” Det. Faith Goodrich, a spokesperson for the Aurora Police Department (APD), wrote in an email to 9NEWS.
Officers Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt and Randy Roedema were all placed on administrative leave following McClain’s death in August 2019, but were cleared of wrongdoing in an ensuing investigation by the 17th Judicial District attorney and were allowed to return to their regular duties earlier this year.
> Watch the video above for an analysis of the body camera footage from the night that led to McClain's death.
But, as McClain’s death has begun to garner national attention, Woodyard and Rosenblatt were taken off the streets on June 13, Goodrich said. Roedema was moved on June 20, and all three officers are working in a “non-enforcement” capacity, according to Goodrich.
This could be a variety of assignments, but the work is typically administrative in nature, Goodrich said.
Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) signed an executive order on Thursday appointing Colorado’s attorney general as a special prosecutor in the McClain case.
McClain, 23, was pronounced dead on Aug. 27, 2019 – a few days after he went into cardiac arrest following a struggle with Aurora Police (APD) officers, who contacted him after receiving a call of a suspicious person in the area.
McClain’s family said he was walking to get an iced tea for his brother and would usually wear a face mask when it got cold outside.
Officers used a carotid hold when restraining McClain, a practice that has since been banned in the City of Aurora. McClain was also given a sedative by Aurora Fire Rescue to calm him down.
The City of Aurora has previously been working to appoint independent investigators to launch a new probe of the case. The investigator that had been hired earlier this year was removed from the case due to concerns he could not be impartial because of his past defending police departments.
Nearly 3.5 million people have signed a Change.org petition asking for an independent investigation into how McClain died and for the APD officers involved in his death to be removed from the streets.
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