AURORA, Colo. – Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser’s announcement regarding a grand jury investigation into Elijah McClain’s death has been met with mixed reactions from community activists and attorneys.
While some see the investigation a step forward in the case, others view it as a way for Weiser to avoid
“I don’t know that I am excited about the idea that there is a need for a grand jury when there could have been direct charges filed,” Aurora Community Activist Candice Bailey wrote in a comment on Facebook.
Bailey and other activists said their apprehension for grand jury determinations stems from other well known cases, like Breonna Taylor’s in Louisville in which grand jury members said the attorney general misrepresented evidence.
“The suspicion of the community of the grand jury system is well-founded. We have historically had district attorneys in the past who have abused the grand jury system and time and time again used the grand jury system to exonerate police officers,” said Civil Rights Attorney Qusair Mohamedbhai, partner at Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC.
Mohamedbhai said in cases involving police killings, a lot of district attorneys only present evidence from the point of view of the officer.
“In the grand jury system, the DAs can present whatever evidence they choose to present. And often times a district attorney will focus on the perspective of an officer in the grand jury system almost eliminating all other perspectives. An average citizen would never get that benefit,” Mohamedbhai said.