Police

Colorado Gov. Orders AG To Re-Investigate Elijah McClain’s Death After Officers Were Cleared

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The governor of Colorado on Thursday appointed a special prosecutor to re-open the investigation into the death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain in the custody of the Aurora police despite the fact the prosecutor found no basis to charge them.

“Elijah McClain should be alive today, and we owe it to his family to take this step and elevate the pursuit of justice in his name to a statewide concern,” Colorado Governor Polis said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.

Polis directed Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser by executive order to investigate McClain’s death in custody and prosecute those involved if he determined it was warranted.

“As a father, my heart breaks for the McClain family,” the governor said. “All Coloradans should be safe walking home from the convenience store, or just being in their own neighborhoods listening to headphones. Unfortunately, I know that is not how many people – especially young people of color – feel in our state today, because I’ve heard it from them directly.”

“We need to do a better job, and at a bare minimum they deserve a thorough review of the case,” Polis added.

The incident occurred on Aug. 24, 2019 when police responded to a call about a suspicious person wearing a mask and waving their arms on Billings Street, the Denver Post reported.

When police arrived on the scene, the suspect – later identified as McClain – refused police commands to stop so they could talk to him.

Police tried to detain McClain and he resisted arrest, and so they used a takedown move and pinned the 140-pound man to the ground.

“Let go of me. I am an introvert. Please respect the boundaries that I am speaking,” McClain told the officers in bodycam video, the Associated Press reported.

Officers used a “carotid control hold” on McClain, according to the Denver Post.

The suspect told police he couldn’t breathe and vomited several times, but he also continued to resist arrest.

Officials said one of the officers requested that paramedics who arrived on the scene dispense a sedative to the still-resisting suspect, KMGH reported.

Paramedics gave McClain a 500 milligram dose of ketamine to calm him down.

However, Aurora police said bodycam video proved it wasn’t the officers’ idea to sedate McClain, KMGH reported.

He suffered cardiac arrest in the ambulance on the way to the hospital and never regained consciousness, the Associated Press reported.

McClain died on Aug. 30, 2019, three days after he was taken off life support.

The Aurora Police Department investigated and the district attorney for the 17th Judicial District determined there was no criminal wrongdoing by the officers involved, the Denver Post reported.

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