What Happened To Elijah McClain

Elijah McClain died in August 2019 after interaction with the police.

Police officers in Aurora, Colorado, approached the 23-year-old as he walked home from a convenience store. The Aurora Police Department later said that a 911 caller had reported a “suspicious person” in a ski mask, and that when officers confronted McClain — who was not armed and had not committed any kind of crime — he “resisted arrest.”

Officers tackled McClain to the ground, put him in a carotid hold, and called first responders, who injected him with ketamine. McClain went into cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and became brain dead. He was taken off life support on August 30. His family said at the time that he was brain dead, and covered in bruise

McClain’s family has maintained that the use of excessive force led to his death. The officers, however, were cleared of wrong doing, apparently on the basis of questionable body-camera footage and an allegedly inconclusive autopsy. McClain’s case has attracted renewed scrutiny amid national protests against systemic racism and the deadly tactics that police often deploy against Black people.

On June 9, Aurora interim police chief Vanessa Wilson announced that officers would be banned from using carotid holds, and obligated to intervene when they see another officer use excessive force.

The body cam footage below shows McClain, a Navy veteran, fighting with three Aurora Police officers shortly before he died. McClain's last words were, "I'm an introvert, I'm different."

An independent review of the case continues.

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