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.”