Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

A protester holds a poster of Elijah McClain during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march. Photo: Tim Evans/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Police in Aurora, Colorado, had no legal basis to stop, frisk or use a chokehold on Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old unarmed Black man who died in custody in 2019, according to a report by independent investigators released Monday.

Driving the news: The City Council in the Denver suburb ordered the independent review in June amid nationwide protests over the police killing George Floyd and other Black people.

Background: Three police officers responding to a call about a suspicious person stopped and restrained McClain, who was walking home from a convenience store on Aug. 24, 2019.

  • The officers put him in a chokehold and paramedics gave him 500 milligrams of ketamine.
  • McClain suffered cardiac arrest and was eventually declared brain dead. He was taken off life support on Aug. 30, 2019.
  • An earlier investigation by the police department concluded the three officers did not violate any policies.

What they found: "The body worn camera audio, limited video, and Major Crime’s interviews with the officers tell two contrasting stories," the review panel said in its report, published Monday.

  • "The officers’ statements on the scene and in subsequent recorded interviews suggest a violent and relentless struggle," the investigators found.
  • But the "limited video, and the audio from the body worn cameras, reveal Mr. McClain surrounded by officers, all larger than he, crying out in pain, apologizing, explaining himself, and pleading with the officers."
  • "The audio of the incident records Mr. McClain crying out in pain, apologizing, vomiting, and at times sounding incoherent. His words were apologetic and confused, not angry or threatening."
  • "He told officers he had his ID, that his name was Elijah McClain, and that 'I was just going home…I’m an introvert and I’m different. Going home…I’m just different. I’m just different. That’s all. That’s all I was doing. I’m so sorry.'"

Investigators also found that previous reviews of the officers' conduct were flawed.

  • "The interviews conducted by Major Crime were neither probing nor objective. The officers involved were not asked key questions about their conduct or the justification for their actions. At times, questions appeared designed to elicit specific exonerating 'magic language' from the case law," the investigators wrote.
  • “In addition, the report of the Major Crime Unit stretched the record to exonerate the officers rather than present a neutral version of the facts,."

What they're saying: The independent review "makes clear what was already known: Elijah should never have been stopped by the police, never have been arrested, never have been subjected to extreme force by the police and should never have been forcibly injected with ketamine," lawyers for McClain's family said in a statement.

  • "Aurora is responsible for Elijah’s tragic death by virtue of its employees’ unlawful and unconscionable actions," the lawyers added.
  • "Sheneen McClain is grateful that this independent investigation has laid bare the wrongdoing of Aurora employees who are responsible for the death of her son. She continues to call for Aurora to hold its employees accountable."
  • "Elijah committed no crime on the day of his death, but those who are responsible for Elijah’s death certainly did."

Go deeper: Elijah McClain's family sues Aurora police and paramedics

Go deeper

Watchdog report criticizes Chicago Police Department's response to BLM protests

Protesters clash with police Chicago police on May 30, 2020. Photo: Jim Vondruska/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Chicago's government watchdog released a new report sharply criticizing the city's police department for how it handled the protests and riots following the death of George Floyd, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The 152-page report from the Chicago Office of Inspector General describes a department in chaos, incidents of violence from officers that went unpunished, and concludes that a lack of preparedness and leadership will leave the department and the city to deal "with the negative repercussions" well into the future.

FBI, Homeland Security warn of increasing threat to Capitol

Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security predict violent domestic extremists attacks will increase in 2021, according to a report reviewed by Axios.

Driving the news: The joint report says an unidentified group of extremists discussed plans to take control of the Capitol and "remove Democratic lawmakers" on or about March 4. The House canceled its plans for Thursday votes as word of the possible threats spread.

14 mins ago - World

Pope Francis set to make first papal visit to Iraq amid possible turmoil

Data: Vatican News; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Pope Francis is forging ahead with the first papal trip to Iraq despite new coronavirus outbreaks and fears of instability.

The big picture: The March 5–8 visit is intended to reassure Christians in Iraq who were violently persecuted under the Islamic State. Francis also hopes to further ties with Shiite Muslims, AP notes.