LETTER: Family mistakenly held by Aurora police should receive trauma therapy

EDITOR: Last week, the country watched in horror as Aurora Police Department officers loomed over four screaming children, one of them wearing a pink tiara. I realize that the officers had a protocol for what they believed to be the family’s offense, but there was clearly no reason to traumatize those children and their aunt.

The lasting trauma for those children is my main concern. How can a person excel in life when they are terrified of the very people who are supposed to protect them? This is not new, but many people are realizing that policies must be rewritten and that officers must go through bias and anti-racism training. To that end, we must demand that:

1. These children receive trauma therapy at no cost to their parents.

2. These four children have college scholarships set up in their names, paid for by Aurora P.D.

3. All policies should be revamped with a representative of those citizens who will be or have been affected by those policies.

4. All officers currently working with Aurora Police Department should immediately receive bias and anti-racism training.

5. Mandatory trauma therapy for police officers would certainly create better decision-making. 

Additionally, I would be remiss if I didn’t say his name: Elijah McClain. Elijah, a young massage therapist, was murdered by Aurora P.D. in August of 2019. He was unnecessarily put in a carotid hold and then injected with ketamine. Again, Aurora P.D. and the first responders made incredibly poor judgments, this time ending in the death of a vibrant and brilliant young man. 

During a time of so much mistrust, it is imperative that Aurora Police Department and their new chief, Vanessa Wilson, work diligently to ensure that officers are taught that they can protect their community and uphold the law without traumatizing the citizens of Aurora and the rest of the country. 

— Dara Harper and Wendy Everard, via [email protected]