Aurora hires ex-chief of theater shooting to be the lead police officer

After the death of its last chief, the police chief in Aurora is back to temporarily head the troubled department.

Aurora hires ex-chief of theater shooting to be the lead police officer

The city announced Wednesday that Daniel J. Oates will be acting as interim chief. He was the Aurora police chief from 2005 to 2014. After which, he retired as Miami Beach police chief.

Jim Twombly, the city manager, stated that Oates was hired because he "has established trust within our community as well as many of our officers."

Twombly fired Vanessa Wilson as Police Chief in December. Wilson was appointed in 2020 to be Colorado's third largest city. The case of Elijah McClain's death attracted widespread attention following protests against police brutality and racial injustice. McClain was put in a chokehold by police and given the powerful sedative, ketamine, in 2019.

Wilson quickly fired officers for misconduct. Wilson also fired officers who shared photos that appeared to mock McClain. She also fired the president and vice president of the two police department police unions earlier this year for an email he sent over 200 employees of the department critiquing diversity provisions that the city had signed under a consent decree with state attorney general. He also disparaged the residents of the city.

Twombly was kind enough to praise Wilson's work in the community, but he said that he fired Wilson because of concerns about her leadership.

Wilson disagreed with Twombly's assessment, and claimed she was expelled for political reasons. After an investigation by the state Attorney General inciting McClain's passing, Wilson's lawyers claimed that the new conservative majority of the city council didn't support Wilson's attempts to implement reforms required under the consent decree.

Three police officers and two paramedics were also indicted by the attorney general in McClain’s death.


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