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Aurora Police chief Vanessa Wilson talks to members of the media near the scene of a shooting at Hinkley High School that left three injured on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, in Aurora, Colo. (Timothy Hurst/The Gazette)

The president of one of two Aurora police unions is on paid administrative leave after several Aurora police officers complained to the city’s Human Resources Department about a racist email he wrote last week.

Aurora police officer Doug Wilkinson was suspended Nov. 17, a day after he penned the memo calling a consent decree designed to implement systemic change within the beleaguered police department “sexist and racist.”

Aurora Police Lt. Chris Amsler told The Denver Gazette that when leadership saw the explosive contents of the email, they acted immediately, putting Wilkinson on paid administrative leave. He says the investigation into the HR complaint is ongoing.

“(Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson) is very concerned about the allegations that have been brought forth by several concerned and courageous employees. Due to the sensitive nature of this ongoing investigation we cannot discuss this case further,” Amsler said in an email.

Amsler said Wilkinson could be punished in a variety of ways for the inflammatory email, including mandated counseling or termination. 

Wilkinson penned the email to the Aurora Police Association’s 240 members the day the city of Aurora agreed with Attorney General Phil Weiser on a consent decree that would improve policing and public safety after several negative high profile incidents, including the death of Elijah McClain. Wilkinson criticized a provision in the consent decree that mentioned that the hiring of Aurora police officers and firefighters should reflect the diversity of the city.

According to CBS 4, Wilkinson blasted this policy change, writing, “The decree indicates that they want to replace as many of the department’s white males as possible with as many women and minorities. It’s as simple as that.”

He added, “To do that they are going to hire and promote non-whites and non-males wherever they can. We already hire every minority that passes the minimum requirements. We can’t make people apply.”

Wilkinson went on, “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.'”

The feud between the Aurora Police Association and current Aurora Police Department administration has been ongoing, as the group launched a no-confidence vote against Chief Vanessa Wilson in late September, suggesting her removal.

The association and Wilkinson have come under fire before, specifically for a statement released after the Elijah McClain grand jury indicted three Aurora police officers and two paramedics. The association's statement seemingly blamed McClain for his own death and referred to the outcry over his killing as a hysterical reaction.

“Sadly, Mr. McClain died due to a combination of exertion due to his decision to violently resist arrest. There’s no evidence that APD officers caused his death,” the statement said.

The Aurora Police Department is represented by two unions: the Aurora Police Association and the larger Fraternal Order of Police. The Aurora Police Association did not immediately respond to The Denver Gazette’s request for comment.

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