Elijah McClain's Parents Reach Settlement With City

They filed civil rights lawsuit after son's death
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 11, 2020 2:52 PM CDT
Updated Oct 19, 2021 7:10 PM CDT
Parents of Elijah McClain Sue Colorado Police
In this June 27, 2020 photo, Sheneen McClain speaks during a rally and march over the death of her son, Elijah McClain, outside the police department in Aurora, Colo.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

(Newser) Update: The parents of Elijah McClain have reached a tentative settlement with the city of Aurora, Colorado over the death of their son after a fatal encounter with police in 2019. The 23-year-old massage therapist was thrown to the ground and placed in a chokehold before paramedics injected him with an excessive dose of ketamine. He died at a hospital six days later. The size of the settlement in the federal civil rights lawsuit filed last year has not been disclosed. In a statement to USA Today, family attorney Matthew Cron said no amount of money could ever compensate mother Sheneen McClain for the devastating loss of her son, and she "would give anything for Elijah to experience the full, long life that he so richly deserved." A grand jury indicted three police officers and two paramedics last month. Our original story from Aug 11, 2020 follows:

The parents of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died after officers in suburban Denver stopped him on the street last year and put him in a chokehold, sued police and medical officials Tuesday. With the federal civil rights lawsuit, the McClain family said they were seeking both accountability for the loss of a "beautiful soul" and to send a message that "racism and brutality have no place in American law enforcement," the AP reports. "We have filed this civil rights lawsuit to demand justice for Elijah McClain, to hold accountable the Aurora officials, police officers, and paramedics responsible for his murder, and to force the City of Aurora to change its longstanding pattern of brutal and racist policing," the family said in a statement released by their attorney.

McClain was stopped by three white officers on Aug. 24, 2019, while they responded to a call about a suspicious person wearing a ski mask and waving his arms. Police put him in a chokehold, and paramedics gave him 500 milligrams of ketamine to calm him down. McClain suffered cardiac arrest, was later declared brain dead, and was taken off life support several days later The lawsuit alleges one officer jammed his knee into McClain's arm "with the sole purpose of inflicting pain by forcefully separating Elijah’s bicep and triceps muscles." It also says two of the officers reported that all three of them simultaneously placed their body weight on McClain after a chokehold. One officer estimated that the collective weight on McClain, who weighed 140 pounds, to be over 700 pounds. (Read more Elijah McClain stories.)

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