Elijah McClain’s death in police hands is getting a second look
Almost a year later, Elijah’s story of his death is finally garnering attention.
Elijah McClain was 23, a massage therapist, and played violin. On the night of August 24, 2019, McClain was walking home from grabbing tea for his brother when police stopped him because of a call made to 911 describing a man acting “suspicious.”
Though the officers at the time were placed on a brief administrative leave, they are back on the field without any charges pressed against them about the night in question. The body-cam footage was not released until November of 2019, three months after his slaying.
However, only the audio recording was captured, and all three officers claimed to have had their cameras “dislodged.”
The report, released on November 22 of the investigation into Elijah McClains death explains why there is no proof of crime beyond a reasonable doubt at trial, meaning no criminal charges were filed.
The report shows the officers claimed McClain reached for their gun, so they took the unarmed black man to the ground, and placed him in a chokehold, where he ‘briefly’ went unconscious.
Departmental policy is to call the Aurora Fire Department after an application of a control hold.
When the fire department arrived, they “were unable to gather any medical history or speak with McClain because he was showing signs of excited delirium.”
Fire Medic Jeremy Cooper suggested injecting McClain with 500 milligrams of ketamine, known in the streets as special k, was administered per AFD protocol “when someone is showing the signs of exciting delirium which includes hyper aggression, tachycardia, diaphoretic, and increased strength.”
The way Cooper suggested the dose was by estimating his weight to approximately be 100 kilograms.
After injecting him with drugs, and handcuffing him once sedated, Cooper, the same person who suggested the ketamine dose, noted McClain’s chest was not rising and he did not have a pulse.
CPR was then performed, followed by him being taken by the ambulance to the hospital.
Three days later, McClain was declared brain dead on August 27, 2019 at 3:51 p.m. Six days later, Stephen Cina performed the forensic autopsy. Two months passed before the Adams County Coroner’s Office released the autopsy report.
Though Dr.Cina declared his death to be undetermined, there was a list of a variety of possibilities.
He concluded that it was a combination of physical exertion (ie. getting taken down to the ground multiple officers) and a narrow left coronary artery (ie. chokehold) that contributed to his death.
Though the report shows that Dr. Cina said there was no evidence to support a ketamine overdose, McClain suffered from an unexpected reaction to the drug. The conclusion of his death and what led to his cardiac arrest in the report from the Coroner’s office used inconclusive words like “may” or “most likely.”
The legal conclusion was that the evidence brought before the court did not support the filing of any criminal charges against the officers.
In the last three weeks, a petition demanding justice and a deeper investigation of McClain’s unlawful death has garnered over two million signatures.
Aurora Senior Public Information Officer Michael Bryant has since said they were compiling a “team of experts.” However, the McCalin’s representing attorney Mari Newman stated that Aurora only recently claimed to have hired an independent investigator who was later on found to be a former cop, now attorney, whose niche of practice is defending police who use excessive force.
Despite the amount of signatures, and not to mention the vague autopsy and legal analysis, District Attorney Dave Young told Colorado Politics on June 8 that he wouldn't open up investigations based on petitions.
However, Colorado Governor Jared Polis tweeted yesterday that he was assessing what the state could do to look into the case.
I am hearing from many Coloradans who have expressed concerns with the investigation of Elijah McClain’s death. As a result, I have instructed my legal council to examine what the state can do and we are assessing next steps. (2/2)
— Governor Jared Polis (@GovofCO) June 24, 2020
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