An independent probe launched after the death of Elijah McClain, found that police and paramedics acted made crucial errors, leading to the 23-year-old’s demise.
The report released on Monday states that Aurora, Colorado, police officers involved in the fatal August 2019 confrontation did not have a legal basis to stop him, frisk him or physically restrain him.
“At the time of the (ketamine) injection, Mr. McClain had not moved or made any sounds for about one minute,” a section of the 157-page report states, according to CNN. “In addition, EMS administered a ketamine dosage based on a grossly inaccurate and inflated estimate of Mr. McClain’s size.”
McClain who stood at 5-foot-7, and 140-pound was administered enough ketamine for a man weighing 190 pounds, according to the panel’s findings.
The investigation also claims that officers never “articulated a crime that they thought Mr. McClain had committed, was committing or was about to commit,” and that their intervention set up “ramifications for the rest of the encounter.”
City council members voted to fund an external investigation after an unanimous vote last July. The investigation was led by Jonathan Smith, executive director of the Washington Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.
The report will be presented to the Aurora city council Monday afternoon and excludes recommendations for disciplinary action. None of the officers involved in McClain’s death were criminally charged.
However, the investigation panel recommends police “review policy, training and supervision regarding use of force and arrest practices; improve accountability systems, including more effective review by Major Crime and mandatory review by Internal Affairs; clarify and strengthen the transition of an individual from suspect to patient when EMS is called.”
McClain, a massage therapist, violinist and lover of animals, died three days after he was put in a carotid hold, which restricts blood flow to the brain. He was also injected with ketamine once paramedics arrived to the scene. He suffered cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital.
He was confronted by three Aurora Police officers while walking home from a convenience store. The police claim they were responding to a call about a suspicious person wearing a ski mask and used excessive force after McClain “resisted contact.” The body cam footage showed McClain calmly asking officers to respect his space, while he explained that he was an “introvert” who was trying to turn his music down in order to hear the officer’s commands.
McClain’s family says he was a sensitive soul who suffered from severe anemia. “I’m just different,” were some of the last words he spoke during the police confrontation.
While McClain’s death occurred in 2019, it revealed another blow to the Black consciousness regarding the ongoing deaths of Black community members at the hands of police. Over the summer, musicians across the country staged concerts as part of the ongoing Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
This is a developing story that will be updated as information becomes available.
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