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Questions raised about police shooting of 14-year-old in Aurora

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — New questions are being asked in the police shooting of a 14-year-old in Aurora.

Police say Jor’Dell Richardson was armed when an officer shot and killed him last Thursday in an alley behind a small strip mall, where police allege the teen robbed a vape store.

FOX31 heard from a pastor who is part of a committee focused on police training for officers in Aurora. Thomas Mayes, Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance president, said questions need to be asked about what led to the shooting in the first place.

“If they (police) were somewhat suspicious, you don’t have to stop them. You don’t have to arrest them. You don’t have to ask them any questions. You don’t have to frisk them. None of those things. All you’ve got to do is be there,” Mayes said.

Mayes, who is also an officer in a leadership position with the NAACP, said a mere police presence can deter crime.

Shortly before Richardson was shot, investigators say he ran from police, who spotted a group of teens wearing hoodies and surgical masks at the row of stores.

An attorney for the family, who viewed body camera video from the shooting, said one officer could be heard saying the word “shoplifting.” Two officers chased the 14-year-old and shot him moments later. Only one shot was fired.

Mayes also viewed the video, along with some of Richardson’s extended family members.

Police in Aurora already under the microscope

Mayes is also a member of Aurora’s consent decree committee, which was set up after the death of Elijah McLain. One of the committee’s goals is to improve policies and provide more training opportunities for officers and regain the community’s trust, according to a post on the city of Aurora’s website.

FOX31 asked Mayes whether Aurora Police officers should have done something differently.

“They should have. They could have. I know we have the consent decree that the city of Aurora and police department are under right now. Some of those changes are being made, but those changes are not coming fast enough. They didn’t come fast enough for Jor’Dell,” Mayes said.

Interim Aurora Police Chief Art Acevedo has said he is confident that these investigations will provide answers to the questions that remain unanswered.

“Given that these investigations have not been completed, the chief urges everyone to withhold final judgment,” an Aurora Police spokesman said.

Acevedo is expected to answer questions during a news conference Friday, when the police body camera video of the encounter with Richardson is released.

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