Aurora, CO

Justice sought for 14-year-old killed by Aurora police, Jor'Dell Richardson

David Heitz

For the family and friends of Jor’Dell Richardson, the 14-year-old shot dead by Aurora police in a botched alleged robbery attempt, the pain is still fresh.

Richardson, armed with only a pellet gun, took a fatal bullet when an officer thought he might fire first. District Attorney John Kellner determined the handgun bore striking resemblance to a real gun.
Photo byColorado 18th Judicial District

“The questions presented to the District Attorney’s Office for the 18th Judicial District are whether the use of physical force by Officer Snapp was justified, and whether Officer Gruszeczka, when firing his weapon at the individual involved in the alleged aggravated robbery, objectively and reasonably believed that his use of deadly physical force was necessary to defend himself or others from what he believed to be the imminent use of deadly physical force by that individual, and that he objectively and reasonably believed that a lesser degree of force was inadequate to combat that threat,” Kellner determined, clearing both officers.

Residents call for officers’, chief’s firings

Several residents during public comment period Monday at the Aurora City Council meeting blasted the city for letting Jor’Dell’s death go unpunished. They called for the firing of both officers as well as Police Chief Art Acevedo.

The first man to speak Monday identified himself as “K. Dot.” He lashed out at Mayor Mike Coffman with profanity. “Personal attacks not permitted,” the mayor responded, banging his gavel. The man continued to antagonize Coffman.

“Jordell Richardson shouldn’t have been murdered by your agency,” K. Dot said. “It is a travesty this family has to go through this horrible ordeal.”

Multiple people who spoke Monday said Richardson’s family also want both officers and Acevedo fired. “You guys need to do way … better,” K. Dot continued. “You failed this family at the end of the day. You should be ashamed of yourselves.”

Elijah McClain all over again

Kate Crowell said the Jor’Dell Richardson incident is like Elijan McClain all over again. “Everyone in a position of authority has shown their true colors more than once.”

S.B. Ford said the death of Elijah McClain should have been “a wakeup call, instead it’s a pattern.”

Aaron Futrell said the chief should be given a second chance to lead, the officers in the Jor’Dell death should be let go.

People who spoke said they also addressed the council four years ago after the death in police custody of Elijah McClain. Chance Johnson noted both incidents occurred in Precinct One. He said the Richardson family has gone 102 days without answers. “They’ve had to go knowing they’re not going to get any justice for their son because he’s not going to come home. Jor’dell did not get to start high school, he did not get to spend time with his friends over the summer…..”

Johnson continued, “When Aurora PD or any police district kills a child, that is a crime, that is a police crime, and it is despicable the city attorney, district attorney and Colorado attorney general have not held these officers responsible.”

Johnson also blasted Acevedo for letting the public think for a week that Jor’dell had a real gun. “Acevedo needs to go,” he said.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career in editing roles at community newspapers in Southern California and the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa. Upon moving to Denver in 2018, I began experiencing severe mental illness due to several traumatic experiences. I became homeless on the street for about a year before spending time in the state mental hospital. I am proof that people can rebound from even severe mental illness with proper treatment. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver. I hope my writing reflects the passion I have for living in the Mile High City. You can email me news releases and story ideas at

Denver, CO

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