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Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson and City Manager Jim Twombly at a press conference at Aurora Police Department Headquarters on July 27. Photo: Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced Wednesday that an investigation found the Aurora Police Department guilty of violating state and federal laws through a pattern of racially biased policing and excessive force.

Why it matters: The investigation began amid outrage over the death of Elijah McClain, which death drew renewed attention in the wake of George Floyd's murder and focused new attention on the practices of Aurora police officers.

  • Earlier this month a Colorado grand jury charged each of the three Aurora officers and two paramedics involved in McClain's death with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.

The big picture: The investigation found a "consistent pattern of illegal behavior by Aurora Police" that was evident across "many levels of the department," noted the press release.

  • Aurora police had a practice of using illegal excessive force and deployed force against people of color nearly two-and-a-half times more often than it did against white people, the investigation found.
  • Aurora police also disproportionally arrested people of color and failed to properly document all interactions with civilians.
  • “These actions are unacceptable. They hurt the people that law enforcement is entrusted” to serve, Weiser said Wednesday, per the Associated Press.

What's next: Colorado's Department of Law will work with the department to come up with an agreement on reforms that must be implemented regarding officer training, policies, record keeping, and hiring.

  • The reform process will be overseen by an independent monitor, per the press release.

Thought bubble, from Axios' John Frank: This is a first-of-its-kind investigation in Colorado, allowed under a 2020 police accountability law that gives the state attorney general the ability to conduct an investigation akin to the civil rights division at the U.S. Department of Justice.

  • It’s an incredible new power and how far the attorney general will take it to address bad policing in Colorado is the big unknown.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that the grand jury charges were announced on Sept. 1.

Go deeper

Police lawsuit bill may renew reform talks

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) has filed legislation advocates hope may offer an opening to resume stalled bipartisan talks over police reform.

Why it matters: It would allow excessive force lawsuits against police departments, agencies and the federal government — but not individual officers, a stumbling block in earlier efforts.

Ex-officer Kim Potter found guilty of manslaughter in killing of Daunte Wright

Posters are displayed outside the Hennepin County Government Center on Nov. 30, 2021, in Minneapolis. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter on Thursday was found guilty of first- and second-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop last April.

The big picture: The shooting, which came during the Derek Chauvin murder trial, sparked days of protests in the Minneapolis suburb.

Pelosi announces bid for re-election ahead of 2022 midterms

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced her bid for re-election Tuesday, amid a deluge of other safe-seat Democrats announcing their retirements.

Why it matters: Pelosi’s announcement follows months of speculation — despite her denials — that she was preparing to leave Congress.