Mother of Elijah McClain condemns Aurora police chief’s firing — ‘it’s about good and evil’

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AURORA | The family of Elijah McClain derided city officials for firing Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson on Wednesday, days after her ouster become apparent.

“Aurora is already regressing soon after the ink has dried on the consent decree. Sheneen McClain recognize Chief Wilson’s efforts to engage with community, and they both demand Aurora stop undoing efforts to combat systemic racist and violent policing. Aurora has unfortunately not learned from the recent $15 million Elijah McClain settlement.” said the family’s attorney, Qusair Mohamedbhai.

City Manager Jim Twombly said he fired Wilson for a variety of reasons but said she had done good work in bringing credibility and community support back to the police department.

McClain was killed at the hands of police and Aurora medics in 2019, resulting in a pending criminal lawsuit against some officers. The death was a large part of creating a consent decree between Aurora and state attorney general Phil Weiser to enact a bevy of police reforms, many of which Wilson staunchly stood behind.

Sheneen McClain told The Sentinel this in an interview Wednesday after learning about the circumstance surrounding Wilson’s firing:

I’m disappointed that the person who showed the initiative and the desire to make the necessary changes in the Aurora police department so that communities of color could feel safer…give me a minute…I’m disappointed because it shows that they don’t care about the community. It shows they don’t care about the consent decree. It shows they don’t care about doing the right thing. 

Reform is not possible in Aurora. The police department is not Chief Wilson’s fault. She stepped in to clean up someone else’s mess. All she was doing was cleaning up the mess that other individuals in that organization have allowed to happen, and they don’t want her to do that. They don’t want her to clean up all the corrupt individuals and get them out of there. They want to employ killers, and they’re employing killers with tax dollars, and that’s not right.

The only person that’s going to be able to come in there and do what she’s doing is nobody. There is no one else. No one else is going to have the passion, no one is going to care about the community. The reason why they’re firing her is because she cares. She really cares. Not just about her job, but she cares about the people, she cares about the community. So what she’s not patting all the police officers on the back, should she? The police department of Aurora has a history of killing people and justifying it with their rules. That’s not right. She was cleaning it up and they got rid of her. So nobody should be trusting that Aurora, Colorado is going to change. The ink hasn’t even dried on the consent decree before they’re totally going against it.

I just keep telling my kids we’ve got to get far away from Aurora. Anybody living in Aurora, Colorado, especially if they’re a person of color, their life is going to be limited one way or another with all the rules and regulations and protocols and inhumanity within the officials of government that run there.

It’s not just about the communities of color, this is about right and wrong, good and evil, humanity and inhumanity. Evil has many tools. Evil has many ways to convince people that they’re right. Killer cops and their accomplices are just one of the evil forms that’s in this earth.

Everybody needs to decide what side of right and wrong that they’re on.

I hate to see Chief Wilson go because she was really a good person. She is a good person. That hasn’t changed.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser issued a statement Tuesday, saying the consent decree will be unaffected by Wilson’s firing.

“The consent decree requiring improvement of policing and building trust in law enforcement in Aurora is with the City of Aurora, not any one person or agency,” Weiser said. “The attorney general’s office will continue this important work with Aurora leadership and the next Aurora police chief.”

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Joe Felice
Joe Felice
1 month ago

I won’t resort to histrionics, as many will. This was a political move, plain and simple and anyone who tries to portray it in any other light is being disingenuous. Obviously, I disagree with the City Manager’s decision, but there is nothing any of us can do. Control of the City is in other hands now. This what we got as a result of those who didn’t vote last November.

john wilson
john wilson
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe Felice

Thats a completely illogical and ridiculous analysis, why would a city want to fire a diversity hired chief knowing the grief they would get. Politics doesn’t hold water in this…. They had to, there will be others that leave to clean house. it was needed to try to get the department back.

Su Ryden
1 month ago

My heart breaks for Sheneen McClain and all the good people who have been trying to make the reforms that are so necessary. We had the best in Chief Wilson, and now we have lost a golden opportunity to do better and be better.

Marlene
Marlene
1 month ago

Aurora won’t find a better, more compassionate and strong chief.

john wilson
john wilson
1 month ago
Reply to  Marlene

you really didn’t know her….she was never compassionate or strong in her career, until it benefited her, nothing more.

Don Black
Don Black
1 month ago

Sorry, but none of you really know Chief Wilson. Easy to appear to be caring. As sad as Elijah’s death was, no one knows what killed him. Suspects have died unexpectedly for many years in cases where the police used no choke holds or other real force. They simply died from the struggle. It has had a name for many years but no one paid any attention. It was called “sudden in custody death”. He should have cooperated and he would have been on his way. He knew he wasn’t guilty of anything. I have long heard the story about how black parents have to give their kids a talk about how to interact with the police. What happened here? Did Elijah not get this talk? The police can’t instantly sense that you are emotionally unstable when the struggle starts right away. Chief Wilson was part of the department for many years and she did nothing to improve things. Suddenly acting like you care and are a reformer doesn’t change what the people in the department know about your character and lack of real leadership. This just shows how we get the lousy political candidates from each party. Easy to fool the public.

FactsOverFeelings
FactsOverFeelings
1 month ago
Reply to  Don Black

“sudden in custody death”…this occurs so regularly that it’s well known and named phenomenon…and the police don’t need to be reformed?

Don
Don
1 month ago

How often?

SWC
SWC
1 month ago
Reply to  Don Black

Agreed!

Hypocrisy Monitor
Hypocrisy Monitor
1 month ago

The irony here is palpable. Are these not the same activists and politicians who barricaded the chief and her officers in their city center headquarters? The same councilmembers who publicly posted “F*** the police” on their social media? The same ones who led anti-police protests that escalated to riots? That worked to defund the police until it became politically untenable due to skyrocketing crime?

Watching them now “outraged” at the ouster of a chief who clearly had lost control of her officers and the management of her departments is, to say the least, odd.

Don
Don
1 month ago

Yep, if the side that championed ‘ACAB’ for half of 2020 is behind you, you are definitely in the wrong. People forget the hateful things these ‘activists’ said condemning all police as irredeemable criminals. Guess what, Conservatives didn’t forget and they patiently waited as they do in all these issues where the left jumps out in front of an issue trying desperately to prove their ideology right, only to expose just how wrong and backwards it is. Because of this we got a chief that only a public relations specialist and not an actual chief who managed a department effectively. It’s all about optics and how it looks from the outside, not what is going on inside the department. Conservatives also had to deal with this until a few months ago with COVID when the left finally admitted (very quietly) that the lockdowns and masks actually didn’t work. The left, desperate to do anything, often hurts more than helps, but they have the power of fake empathy that keeps drawing people in.

Michael Moore
1 month ago

I agree with Joe Felice. If we want to change the good ole boy system, we need to get out and vote. I canvassed and packed flyers for Democrats. In the end it wasn’t enough. Elections have consequences! Unlike many Republicans, I respect that. It is what separates us from the likes of Russia or China.

john wilson
john wilson
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Moore

Democrats have screwed up cities, police departments, states all over this country. people are waking up to the destruction wrought by Democrat politics.

DICK MOORE
1 month ago

Come on Sentinel. Do you really think as a news article or even an editorial, we citizens care what Mother McClain’s opinions are? We citizens of Aurora made her a multi-millionaire. Her poor parenting started this whole mess and now she gets to be publicized frequently by this newspaper. She will always be stigmatized in Aurora and unknown almost anywhere else. I would hope that she just takes the money and runs.

Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
1 month ago

Anybody living in Aurora, Colorado, especially if they’re a person of color, their life is going to be limited one way or another with all the rules and regulations and protocols and inhumanity within the officials of government that run there.”

Over the last 20-plus years, the population of north Aurora’s schools has changed from about 50/25/15 percent white/black/Hispanic to around 70/15/10 percent Hispanic/black/white, with most of the Hispanic population being of Mexican origin. That is a massive demographic swing, and if this assertion was true, I highly doubt these immigrants would have been telling their friends and relatives “Hey, we found a place in the US that we can get a job and raise a family, you should come out here, too.” Middle class families in particular, regardless of their skin color, have had very little trouble living within the boundaries of all the “rules and regulations” that are in place.

In fact, until the California OGs starting migrating out here in the 1980s to expand their drug-dealing terrorities, Aurora was a pretty nice suburb to live in, even in the more working-class parts of town on the northwest side.

Dean
1 month ago

“Aurora is already regressing soon after the ink has dried …” “regressing, are we?  One man’s opinion, call me unimpressed. Lots of people would flatly disagree with whatever conclusion this plaintiffs’ lawyer has to say about this. Lawyers are the worst for having opinions that fit whatever case he has been paid for.

Sheneen McClain’s comments to this paper is a lesson in her credulity. It would be helpful for her to get away from nothing but the propaganda that her lawyers feed her daily. There are other sides to this, she dislikes. Nonetheless, Sheneen has now been swallowed up into nothing but a machine of professional spin-misters. And has she put them on speed dial, you bet, Vanessa too? – Absolutely.  Does she question them, on anything of course not, why would she?

I just keep telling my kids we’ve got to get far away from Aurora. Anybody living in Aurora, Colorado, especially if they’re a person of color, their life is going to be limited one way or another with all the rules and regulations and protocols and inhumanity within the officials of government that run there.”

With this kind of thinking going on, as she sees life in America it won’t matter where she thinks she’s going. That rational is although locally aimed and her deep-down heart felt advice to her kids. It’s been firmly established, it’s identical to and always going to be the let-my-people- go… we can never get off of this slave-ship mantra.

The bottom line to regular – Joe Aurora,  Chief Wilson, dropped the ball in far too many circumstances, not one particular occurrence, totality was plenty enough.