Aurora outlaws police chokeholds, including the kind used on Elijah McClain

The carotid hold was used on McClain last year.

An Aurora police cruiser outside the Town Center at Aurora mall on Friday, Dec. 27, in Aurora. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

An Aurora police cruiser outside the Town Center at Aurora mall on Friday, Dec. 27, in Aurora. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

The restraint technique used on Elijah McClain is now illegal in Aurora. On Monday, Aurora City Council banned the local police from using chokeholds.

Aurora’s bill defines a carotid hold as a method “by which an officer bends or attempts to bend his or her arm around a subject’s neck, applying pressure on either side of the windpipe, but not on the windpipe itself.”

The council’s decision codifies a policy change enacted by police chief Vanessa Wilson, who was sworn in Monday. Wilson banned carotid holds in June while serving as interim chief, part of several policy changes she’s made.

According to city spokesman Michael Bryant, council’s decision makes the ban a law, so it can’t be changed by a police chief in the future without the legislative body’s approval.

McClain died last August after being placed in two carotid holds by police and injected with ketamine by paramedics trying to calm him. His death has sparked calls for police reform, prompted demonstrations and led to several investigations looking into the events that led to McClain’s death and the Aurora Police Department.

A broad police accountability bill, signed into law by the state legislature in June, bans law enforcement from using chokeholds. Aurora councilmember Juan Marcano said during a previous council meeting that the city’s law complements the state’s.

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