White police officers murdered 23-year-old McClain, but they were never brought to a justice due to a lack of evidence. A new report has changed that.
Trigger Warning: Police Brutality, Racism
On Monday, Sheneen McClain cried as she read an independent investigative report that claimed that Colorado police officials who stopped, frisked, and restrained her son Elijah McClain did not have the legal basis to do so. Her son passed away in August 2019, a mere three days after he was stopped by Aurora police, who illegally placed him in a carotid hold and injected him with ketamine. Elijah was only 23-years-old. Despite his death, the officers in question were never held liable as "prosecutors lacked evidence" to prove that their use of force was unjustified, District Attorney Dave Young wrote in a June 2020 letter. Now, the investigative report is expected to bring some closure to the McClain family, CNN reports.
The most heartbreaking part of this whole thing is hearing Elijah McClain's mom Sheneen say "My son's name is cleared now. He's no longer a suspect. He's a victim." Imagine living with that burden. https://t.co/WYIGRtTO5W— Eric Michael Garcia (@EricMGarcia) February 22, 2021
"It was overwhelming knowing my son was innocent the entire time and just waiting on the facts and proof of it," she said in an interview with the news outlet. "My son's name is cleared now. He's no longer labeled a suspect. He is actually a victim." Through tears, the mother admitted that she has watched the body camera footage of her son's death repeatedly as she never had the chance to say goodbye. McClain shared, "I looked at everything that happened to him because it's my responsibility. Even in death, he's still my son. His name, his legacy. All that matters."
An independent investigation finds Aurora Police did not have a basis to stop, frisk, or restrain Elijah McClain. The report also found, "EMS administered a ketamine dosage based on a grossly inaccurate and inflated estimate of Mr. McClain’s size."https://t.co/boUoZGO63g— Omar Jimenez (@OmarJimenez) February 22, 2021
After several months of protests, the 157-page report provides some relief to those who have expressed their discontent with the lack of accountability police departments have, particularly when police brutality is inflicted upon Black folks. This is especially true as the report provides a rather critical view of police and fire rescue teams in the Denver suburb. The report questions claims about the victims' "superior strength," criticizes the emergency medical responder team's decision to inject him with ketamine, and condemns the police department's lack of action following the incident. "At the time of the (ketamine) injection, Mr. McClain had not moved or made any sounds for about one minute," the report reads. "In addition, EMS administered a ketamine dosage based on a grossly inaccurate and inflated estimate of Mr. McClain's size."
AUGUST 24, 2019— Shomari Stone (@shomaristone) August 24, 2020
Elijah McClain died after a police encounter one year ago today.
He was walking home from a convenience store with an iced tea.
3 Aurora police officers confronted him.
He was put in a chokehold & injected with ketamine while handcuffed.#ElijahMcClain https://t.co/bBbY23RnTt pic.twitter.com/mG9a0cfREn
In addition to the report, McClain's attorneys released a statement on Monday praising the investigative report and the "sham investigation" originally carried out by the police department. The attorneys affirmed, "Aurora is responsible for Elijah's tragic death by virtue of its employees' unlawful and unconscionable actions." The mother reiterated the sentiment in the same statement. "Elijah believed in humanity and that humanity mattered," she stated. "Inhumane humans are a problem and we must stop unjust laws." Elijah's father, LaWayne Mosley, added, "This report confirms what we have been saying from the start. The Aurora police and medics who murdered my son must be held accountable."
I still cry when I think of Elijah McClain. Such a pure soul 😔 he deserves justice. They all do. pic.twitter.com/slBtWW0PyU— 𝙴𝚛𝚒𝚌𝚔𝚊💜 (@_theeunicorn_) February 22, 2021
The independent investigation and ensuing report was paid for by the Aurora City Council. The investigation was conducted by a team of experts, including Jonathan Smith, executive director of the Washington Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs; Roberto Villaseñor, the former Tucson, Arizona, police chief; and Dr. Melissa Costello, a practicing emergency medicine physician and EMS medical director based in Mobile, Alabama. Using the recorded 911 call, officer body camera footage, reports and narratives, and medical records, the panel carried out the investigation. It is unclear if the report will have ramifications for the police officers who caused the young man's death.
"Elijah McClain"— Katherine The Great (@KatherineLeiba) February 22, 2021
This young Man's Death to me is one of the most egregious things I have ever seen In the USA
An introvert a violin player to animals a soft spoken young man
SNUFFED out by Police and Paramedics
I hope his Mother Sues Aurora Police for every last dime pic.twitter.com/qxqpJo6umi