Elijah McClain died from injection and chokehold: new autopsy

Elijah McClain, the 23-year-old Black man who died after Colorado cops put him in a carotid hold and paramedics injected him with ketamine, died because of those two actions, according to an updated autopsy.

An initial autopsy report, completed in November 2019, was unable to determine McClain’s cause of death.

The new report was finished in July 2021 but not released until Friday. It updated the cause of death, but left the manner of death listed as “undetermined” rather than “homicide” or “accident.”

“I believe this tragic fatality is most likely the result of ketamine toxicity,” Dr. Stephen Cina wrote in the updated autopsy. “It is my opinion that [McClain] likely would have recovered if he did not receive this injection.”

McClain was walking home from a convenience store on Aug. 24, 2019, when someone in Aurora, an east Denver suburb, called the cops and said he looked “suspicious.”

Officers Randy Roedema, Nathan Woodyard and Jason Rosenblatt responded. The cops put McClain in the carotid hold, which restricts blood to the brain.

“I have no gun. I don’t do that stuff. I don’t do any fighting. Why were you attacking me? I don’t do guns. I don’t even kill flies. I don’t eat meat. … I am a vegetarian,” McClain pleaded as the cops held him down.

Breaking News

Breaking News

As it happens

Get updates on the coronavirus pandemic and other news as it happens with our free breaking news email alerts.

As McClain was losing consciousness, paramedics Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec arrived on the scene. They injected McClain with ketamine, a powerful sedative.

McClain stopped breathing and was taken to a hospital. He was declared brain-dead and taken off life support six days later.

Local prosecutors never filed charges. But an investigation led by Colorado attorney general Phil Weiser resulted in charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.

“I don’t think anyone can plausibly argue that if Mr. McClain had just been allowed to walk home that night, he would have died,” University of Denver law professor Ian Farrell, who is not involved in the case, told NBC News. “So, at least in some sense, [the five defendants] caused his death by the things they did from a legal point of view.”

The local coroner tried to deny a public records request for the updated autopsy, but Colorado Public Radio and other news organizations sued for access. Their request was granted Friday.

McClain’s family also sued Aurora for wrongful death and reached a $15 million settlement.

With News Wire Services




news source

Tags

Related Articles

Close