The family of a young black man who died after police in Aurora, Colo., Put him in a chokehold and paramedics injected him with ketamine filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Tuesday.
Three White Officers in response to reports of a suspicious person wearing a ski mask stopped Elijah McClain, 23, in August 2019. McClain was unarmed and reportedly wore a ski mask because of anemia. his sometimes made him feel cold. Officers inserted it into a chokehold and tied it to the ground using a carotid brace – which puts pressure on the side of a person’s neck, temporarily interrupting blood flow to the brain. During the incident, McClain woke up, said he could not breathe and vomited.
Paramedics later injected him with about 500 milligrams of ketamine. Anesthesia is also known as “Special K”; when used illegally.
McClain went on a heart attack on the way to the hospital. He was pronounced dead in the brain and deprived of life support a few days later.
“We have filed this civil rights lawsuit to seek justice for Elijah McClain, to hold Aurora officials, police officers and paramedics responsible for his murder, and to force the City of Aurora to change its model of during the brutal and racist police, ”the family said in a statement issued through their lawyer.
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The lawsuit alleges that one of the officers sucked McClain on the arm “with the sole purpose of causing pain by forcibly separating Elijah’s tail and triceps muscles.”
The city of Aurora has released camera footage and the 911 call that preceded the incident.
For his part, McClain, in a clumsy voice, denies having done anything wrong. He tells officers that he is “just different” and “I can not breathe, please stop.”
“When we showed up, he was wearing a ski mask,” someone could be heard saying.
An autopsy determined that the cause of McClain’s death was “unspecified,” but said “intense physical exercise and a narrow left coronary artery” were contributing factors.
“It is very likely that the testator’s physical exercise contributed to death,” the medical examiner found. “It is unclear whether the actions of the officers also contributed.”
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An internal summary found that “the actions of the respondents were in line and complied with the prescribed protocols set by doctors outside the city,” officials said.
The case received renewed attention following the death involving George Floyd police in Minneapolis in late May. Floyd, who was also Black, was hung from below by numerous officers, including one who held the knee to the neck for nearly nine minutes.
State authorities initially refused to file charges against the officers or paramedics involved in the incident – but the Jared Polis government later appointed a special prosecutor to investigate. The city opened another independent investigation in late July.
And three Aurora police officers were fired and another resigned in July after linking to photos taken near the site of a McClain memorial, one of which showed officers reopening the chokehold used at McClain
The Justice Department and the FBI said in late June that they were considering their own possible civil rights investigation into the teenager’s death.
McClain worked as a massage therapist, was very fond of animals and taught himself how to play multiple instruments, according to the Colorado Sentinel newspaper. He would play his violin for abandoned pets in animal shelters and was a vegetarian.
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Dom Calicchio and the Associated Press of Fox News contributed to this report.