Colorado grand jury charges officers in Elijah McClain's death

DENVER – A Colorado grand jury has laid criminal charges against three police officers and two paramedics in the 2019 death of Elijah Mc...

DENVER – A Colorado grand jury has laid criminal charges against three police officers and two paramedics in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain, a young black man who was walking home when he was arrested by police, put under strangulation and injected with a powerful anesthetic, the Colorado attorney general said Wednesday.

Attorney General Phil Weiser, who had been appointed special prosecutor in the case, announced the indictment of 32 counts almost exactly two years to the day after Mr. McClain’s death.

Credit…via Reuters

“Our goal is to seek justice for Elijah McClain, for his family and friends and for our state,” Weiser said at a press conference announcing the charges, the culmination of months of investigation, of protests and calls for justice from Mr. McClain’s family and friends.

The three police officers and two paramedics involved in Mr. McClain’s death in Aurora, Colorado, just east of Denver, will each face a charge of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, Mr. Weiser. The accused also face various assault charges.

“We’re here today because Elijah McClain isn’t here, and he should be,” Weiser said.

Mari Newman, an attorney for Mr McClain’s father, LaWayne Mosley, welcomed the accusations, saying Mr Mosley cried when he heard the news.

“This indictment serves as a powerful reminder to all members of law enforcement that no one is above the law, ”Ms. Newman said in a statement.

Governor Jared Polis appointed Mr. Weiser as a special prosecutor in 2020 to investigate Mr. McClain’s death in August 2019.

The death of Mr McClain, a 23-year-old black man who friends and family have described as a gentle person who loved animals and learned to play the violin, sparked protests across Denver and a wave of inquiries , prosecutions and demands for police reform.

Mr. McClain was walking home from a convenience store when he was stopped by three Aurora cops responding to a 911 call about a suspicious person. Officers attacked Mr. McClain and placed him in a choke that restricts blood to the brain. Paramedics at the scene then injected Mr. McClain with ketamine, a fast-acting anesthetic commonly used during surgeries in animals and humans.

Mr. McClain was taken to hospital unconscious and never recovered. He was removed from the resuscitation system and died on August 30, 2019.

Mr. McClain was unarmed and had not been suspected of having committed any crime. As officers used force to subdue him, Mr. McClain repeatedly apologized to officers and said he couldn’t breathe, “I can’t breathe, please!” he said at one point.

a independent review of Mr. McClain’s death published in February published a scathing catalog of mistakes made by officers and paramedics during the meeting and the investigation that followed. Adams County, Colorado prosecutors declined to press charges against the three police officers involved in Mr. McClain’s death.

Qusair Mohamedbhai, an attorney for Mr. McClain’s mother, Sheneen, made a statement of support on Wednesday.

“Ms. McClain is overwhelmed by the developments in the murder of her son, and she appreciates the hard work of Phil Weiser and his team,” Mr. Mohamedbhai said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Colorado grand jury charges officers in Elijah McClain's death
Colorado grand jury charges officers in Elijah McClain's death
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