The city of Aurora, Colorado has temporarily banned the use of ketamine by first responders until an independent investigation of Elijah McClain’s death is concluded.
On Monday (Sep. 14), the Aurora City Council voted unanimously to put a provisional suspension on the drug. “It’s only right to suspend the use of it until if and when it is determined to be safe,” Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman said during the city council meeting.
Their decision came after the Colorado Society of Anesthesiologists called for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to suspend their ketamine waiver program until they finished their review of the drug as a sedative.
Coffman tweeted his support for the ban. “I supported the suspension of the use of Ketamine by our paramedics until the two ongoing medical investigations have been completed and only if they conclude that it’s both safe and effective,” he wrote.
Back in July, REVOLT reported that CDPHE opened an investigation into the administering of ketamine during McClain’s deadly arrest. Peter Myers, a representative for the CDPHE, said that the investigation was “currently ongoing.”
Last August, McClain was stopped by Aurora police officers as he walked home from the store. Someone called the police saying they spotted a “suspicious man” and the officers quickly arrived. McClain was wearing a ski mask because he was anemic and needed to keep warm.
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. He vomited and yelled out, “I can’t breathe,” as he was restrained. Aurora paramedics were called to assist and injected McClain with approximately 500 milligrams of ketamine. He went into cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and fell into a coma. A few days later, he was taken off life support and died.
None of the officers who were involved in his death have been charged or arrested. One of the officers was fired from the department in July for reenacting the chokehold used on McClain for a photo.