On today’s Morning Magazine, an interview with two members of the NAACP’s Boulder Branch, honing in on a Boulder Deputy Chief’s involvement in the investigation into Elijah McClain’s death.
Police officers involved in the death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain have spent much of the past month in court. McClain died in 2019 following a violent encounter with Aurora police, who were responding to a 911 call about a “sketchy” person in the area. McClain did not commit any crime.
Prosecutors say one officer put McClain in a neck hold that made him lose consciousness. Paramedics also came to the scene, and injected McClain with a powerful sedative that may have contributed to his death. The paramedics will be tried next month.
Boulder Deputy Chief Stephen Redfearn is one of many witnesses in the trials. He worked at the Aurora Police Department as a captain at the time of McClain’s death. The events he was involved in have set off alarms for community leaders and residents of Boulder.
Colorado Public Radio reports that during his testimony, Redfearn stated that he changed the notes in the call logs for the dispatch call from “suspicious person” to “assault on an officer.” Redfearn said he made those changes without investigating the incident, reviewing footage, or interviewing any of the officers on the scene. He went off of the information that was given to him from officers, and said he implemented proper Critical Incident Protocol.
I sat down with two individuals leading petitions and calls to action against Redfearn – Darren O’Connor, who is a local attorney and the NAACP Boulder County Criminal Justice Committee Chair, and Annett James, President of the NAACP Boulder County Branch.
We discussed Redfearn’s involvement in the investigation into Elijah McClain’s death, and the NAACP’s desire for widespread changes in policing. Here’s our conversation:
MorningMagazine_2023-10-30 Jackie Sedley