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Aurora police union president suspended over email disparaging diversity provisions

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Aurora Police Department

The president of a police union in Aurora has been placed on paid administrative leave by the police department after he sent an email to the group's 240 members calling diversity provisions in an agreement between the city and the state “sexist and racist.”

Officer Doug Wilkinson sent the email Nov. 16 and was placed on leave the following day after multiple Aurora officers complained to human resources, Lt. Chris Amsler, an aide to Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson, told KCNC-TV.

“To match the ‘diversity’ of ‘the community’ we could make sure to hire 10% illegal aliens, 50% weed smokers, 10% crackheads, and a few child molesters and murderers to round it out. You know, so we can make the department look like the ‘community,’” Wilkinson wrote in the email.

The email was prompted by an agreement announced Nov. 16 that set up reforms for the Aurora police and fire departments. The consent decree followed a lengthy state investigation that found a pattern of racist policing and excessive use of force. It calls for updated hiring practices so the police and fire departments better reflect the city’s racial makeup.

The investigation was launched amid outrage over the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who was put into a chokehold by Aurora police and injected by paramedics with ketamine in 2019.

Wilkinson told KCNC-TV his missive was intended to be “a private email message to the members” and should not have been made public.

“I’m trying to have an honest conversation” without it becoming a “word salad,” he said.

Wilkinson’s email criticized the agreement's provisions for diversity in hiring and promotions within the police department.

“The decree indicates that they want to replace as many of the department’s white males as possible with as many women and minorities,” he wrote. “It’s as simple as that. To do that they are going to hire and promote non-whites and non-males wherever they can.”

According to Wilkinson, “The State’s plan, fully embraced by the city, is literally systematically sexist and racist.”

He also wrote that he would prefer that the department focus on intelligence, personal ethics and courage as the only criteria for hiring and promotion.

"That’s all I care about. We should only be interested in merit. But that will never do. They’re addicted to race and sex politics. We already hire every minority that passes the minimum requirements,” he wrote.

Amsler said the police chief is “very concerned” about the email and added that the Aurora Police Association does not speak for the police department and is not the recognized bargaining unit with the city.

The APA is one of two Aurora Police unions. The Fraternal Order of Police represents the majority of Aurora officers.

Copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved.