Headlines November 18, 2021
Aurora Agrees To $15 Million Settlement In Elijah McClain case
The City of Aurora has agreed to pay the family of Elijiah McClain $15 million as settlement to a federal civil rights lawsuit begun by his mother, Sheneen McClain. Three anonymous sources familiar with the agreement confirmed the amount to Denver’s CBS4 news station.
According to CBS4, the settlement will be the largest in Aurora Police history. The amount surpasses the $12 million wrongful death settlement in the Louisville, Kentucky case of Breonna Taylor. The City of Minneapolis has the largest police related settlement of $27 million for the murder of George Floyd.
23-year-old McClain died in August 2019 after Aurora police physically confronted him and placed him in a chokehold while paramedics administered an overdose of the chemical sedative ketamine. Sheneen McClain began the federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Aurora and other defendants in August 2020. This past August, a grand jury returned a 32-count indictment against the officers and paramedics involved in McClain’s death, including charges of manslaughter and negligent homicide.
CBS4 reports a court hearing will occur tomorrow. Attorneys for the parties have not released details on the distribution of the settlement between McClain’s single mother and his biological father.
Containment Of Kruger Rock Fire Improves, Details Released About Fatal Crash
The Kruger Rock Fire continues to burn near Estes Park. As of yesterday afternoon, forest service officials report the fire remains at about 145 acres with containment estimated at 40%. The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office has also released details about the plane crash that killed an air tanker Tuesday night.
CO Fire Aviation, the company that owns the downed plane, identified their pilot as Marc Thor Olson. As Olson returned to the fire area for a second drop, he told ground crews conditions were turbulent and that he would make one more pass over the fire before returning to the Loveland airport. Moments later, around 6:30 pm, firefighters then heard the plane crash. Olson, a military veteran pilot with decades of flying experience, was flying a fixed-winged aircraft with night vision as part of an inaugural Colorado nighttime fire fighting mission.
According to the Colorado Sun, night time air drops are rare because of dangerous conditions, but there has been a recent push to use technological advances for night aircraft as an effective strategy in preventing the eruption of massive and destructive fires. The fire began early Tuesday after high winds blew a tree over a power line, with sparks igniting steep terrain near Estes Park.
Denver School Board Director Files Defamation Suit
Denver school board director Tay Anderson has filed a defamation lawsuit claiming the defendants circulated unsubstantiated sexual assault allegations against him. Anderson argues allegations of sexual assault almost caused him to take his own life. He says the allegations are false and filed a one-million-dollar defamation and civil conspiracy lawsuit yesterday against several people. Black Lives Matters Denver chapter member and Denver Public School parent Mary Katherine Brooks Fleming are among the defendants.
Accusations of assault against Anderson first surfaced via public forums and social media on behalf of alleged victims, triggering media scrutiny and an official investigation. After a six-month investigation, school officials cleared Anderson in September, but voted to censure him for flirtatious social media contact with a minor.
Police Search Four Locations Connected To Mesa County Clerk And Recorder Probe
The FBI and state police officers searched four locations in Mesa County and Garfield County Tuesday in connection to the criminal probe of a possible election-security breach by Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters and others in her office. No arrests occurred according to statements by a Mesa County spokesperson.
According to the Denver Post, the search activity garnered attention after an appearance by Tina Peters on LindelTV, an online show operated by Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow and a 2020 election conspiracy theorist. Peters claimed on the show her home and the homes of some of her friends were raided by the FBI.
A consultant for Peters’ legal defense also claimed large teams of heavily armed federal agents used battering rams to break down doors and raided the homes of Peters and several of her friends and colleagues who were described as mostly elderly women in their 60s.
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser and District Attorney Dan Rubinstein released a joint statement late yesterday refuting the claims by Peters and her legal defense fund indicating at no time was force used on Peters or her home and that Peters was allowed to move about her home and fix herself breakfast while agents gathered items before departing. According to the Denver Post, the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission ruled Tuesday an ethics complaint against Peters could move forward. Peters will have 30 days to respond before the commission conducts any further investigation.