50,000 signatures reached
To: Aurora City Council Members, Mayor Mike Coffman, and Police Chief Vanessa Wilson
Aurora, CO: Demand justice for Elijah McClain and say NO to police unions
Follow the lead of the police chief of Minneapolis and refuse to negotiate with police unions over accountability and reform.
Why is this important?
Aurora, Colorado’s police force is clearly dangerous — and it’s enabled by unaccountable police union leaders who prioritize abusive officers over true community safety. It’s time for the mayor, the police chief, and the city council to rein them in.
Aurora officers murdered Elijah McClain almost a year ago. A few months later officers mocked and glorified the killing. Then just last month, community members holding a peaceful vigil of violin players — honoring McClain’s life and protesting his murder — were attacked by Aurora police in riot gear, with batons and pepper spray.
The police unions’ response? Marc Sears, president of Aurora’s Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) went on offense, dismissing public criticism as completely unfounded and repeatedly attacking the city’s first openly LGBTQ city council member who has dared call for accountability. The Aurora Police Association, the city’s other police union, which has been silent since McClain’s death, finally spoke up last week — only to complain about the firing of one of the officers and launch a barrage of personal attacks on the police chief, not just decrying her actions but questioning her integrity.
As these atrocities have come to light, there’s been no contrition, no apology, and far too little accountability. And Aurora’s police unions have been solely concerned with knee-jerk defense of officers and deflecting any honest conversation about the problems with the department and long-overdue reform.
Mayor Mike Coffman says he’s committed to stopping police violence in Aurora and creating real change. But that can’t happen through negotiation between the city and Aurora’s police unions. Like police unions across the country, Aurora’s union leaders perpetuate a violent and unaccountable police culture, routinely defend abusive cops, try to win contracts that effectively put police above the law, and do everything they can to block reform. If they’re given influence over the process, they will block any meaningful change.
If Coffman and the city council are serious, they’ll follow the lead of the mayor of Minneapolis and stop any negotiations with police unions about accountability and reform. If we can convince the city of Aurora to stop letting the police unions bargain over the policies and reforms that could hold police accountable, it will help pave the way for real change in Aurora, and send a message to other cities that they can break free of the power of police unions and finally have an opportunity for real change.