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Aurora officer cleared of policy violations in shooting death of Jor’Dell Richardson

Update: The independent consent decree monitor for the City of Aurora, Jeff Schlanger, is reviewing how Aurora Police handled the encounter with Jor’Dell Richardson. Schlanger said that includes the police department’s internal investigation of the three officers involved in Richardson’s death. His team’s conclusions will be released as part of the monitor’s next progress report, which is expected later this month. APD is currently in a consent decree for five years to reform department policies and practices.

Original story below.

The Aurora police officer who shot and killed Jor’Dell Richardson will not face disciplinary action from his employer.

An internal investigation by Aurora Police concluded that Officer Roch Gruszeczka did not violate department policies when he chased, tackled and shot Richardson on June 1, 2023. Police say 14-year-old Richardson and a group of teenagers were robbing a convenience store for vape cartridges when the police chase ensued.

“The tragic death of Jor’Dell Richardson has understandably evoked strong emotions from his family and community members,” said interim Aurora Police Chief Art Acevedo. “While some will vehemently disagree with our findings, it is important for the community to know that the department left no stone unturned to establish the facts in this case.”

Another, Officer James Snapp, was reprimanded for using profane language, while second officer, Sergeant Stephenson Cary, was reprimanded for not turning on his body camera earlier.

The officers involved in the shooting were put on administrative leave. All three officers have been released to full duty.

The release of the internal investigation comes the same day as closing arguments in the trial of two Aurora Police officers charged in the death of Elijah McClain. It also comes after the 18th Judicial District cleared the officers of criminal liability in the death of Richardson.

Body-worn camera video and surveillance videos were released to the public that showed officers pursue and shoot Richardson. Officers begin CPR and call for help. Video shows Richardson had a weapon, but it is unclear if he reached for it or intended to use it when he was being chased by police. Gruszeczka told investigators he could feel the teen’s hand on the gun and believed it was pointed at his stomach. The weapon turned out to be a pellet gun.

Richardson can be heard saying “Stop, please. You got me.”
In February, the city of Aurora paid a $100,000 settlement in a racial profiling complaint involving Gruszeska. Fox31 reported the complaint alleged three officers profiled two young Black residents outside of one of their homes.

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