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Family of Elijah McClain sue Colorado police and medical officials over his death

The family wants to send a message that “racism and brutality have no place in American law enforcement.”

Elijah McClain Instagram

The parents of Elijah McClain, the 23-year-old Black man who died last year after Aurora police officers placed him in a chokehold, sued the city's police and medical officials on Tuesday (Aug. 11).

According to Associated Press, the civil rights suit states that the family wants to seek accountability for the loss of a “beautiful soul” and to make it clear that “racism and brutality have no place in American law enforcement.”

“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 via a statement released by their attorney.

On August 24, 2019, McClain was stopped by three white Aurora police officers after he left a local store. The officers responded to a call that someone “suspicious” was wearing a ski mask and waving his arms. McClain’s family says the ski mask kept him warm because he was anemic.

Police say they told McClain to “stop,” but he didn’t and the officers began to get physical with him. He was reportedly placed in a chokehold and held on the ground for 15 minutes. The lawsuit claims one cop had his knee planted into McClain’s arm “with the sole purpose of inflicting pain by forcefully separating Elijah’s bicep and triceps muscles.”

Paramedics were called to assist and they injected McClain with 500 milligrams of ketamine while he was reportedly already unconscious. He went into cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and fell into a coma. A few days later, he was declared brain dead and taken off life support.

The Aurora police and fire department have not issued a response to the lawsuit.

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