Elijah McClain was killed by a police officer in Aurora, Colorado for “looking sketchy,” and his family has reached a settlement. The city has agreed to pay $15 million to McClain’s family in a federal civil rights lawsuit filed over the 23-year-old unarmed Black man’s death in 2019 — the largest police-related settlement in the city and Colorado’s history.
McClain died several days after a confrontation with Aurora police. On Aug. 24, 2019, he was walking home from shopping at a nearby convenience store when a local called the police saying McClain “looked sketchy.” When Aurora officers approached, McClain told them that he was walking home and asked them to let him go, according to an independent review.
“I’m an introvert, and I’m different,” McClain told the police, according to audio recordings from the stop. “I’m just different. That’s all. That’s all I was doing. I’m so sorry.”
A verbal confrontation followed and turned physical. Police applied a chokehold maneuver that has since been banned. Paramedics arrived and injected McClain with ketamine, a powerful sedative, and he went into cardiac arrest, 4CBS Denver reported.
Taken unconscious to a hospital, McClain never recovered. He was removed from life support and died on Aug. 30. The Adams County coroner said the cause of death was “undetermined” and could have been a result of natural causes, a homicide related to the carotid hold, or an accident, The New York Times reported.
Many on Twitter thought the settlement was justified.
Some called for nationwide police reform.
McClain’s parents, Sheneen McClain and Lawayne Mosley, filed a federal lawsuit in 2020 against the city of Aurora and the police officers and fire department members involved in their son’s death. Named as defendants were the city of Aurora, 12 police officers, two fire department paramedics, and the department’s medical director.
Separately, a Colorado grand jury indicted three police officers and two paramedics in October 2021 on charges including manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.
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