“Aurora’s unconstitutional behavior on the night of August 24, 2019 is part of a broader custom, policy, and practice of racism and brutality that is reflected in his behavior before and after the murder of Elijah McClain, a young black boy.” the lawsuit says.
McClain, 23, was stopped by three white officers last August while walking home from a nearby supermarket. A fight ensued after McClain resisted contact with the officer, and one officer put McClain in a carotid grip – or chokehold – and momentarily lost consciousness, according to an Incident Police chart available earlier this year was asked.
McClain began fighting again when he was released from the hold, the report said. When paramedics arrived, they administered the drug ketamine to calm McClain, the report said. McClain suffered a heart attack in the ambulance and was pronounced brain dead three days later, the prosecutor said in a letter.
The officers were taken on administrative leave after McClain’s death but were later reinstated after prosecutors refused to bring charges. In June, Governor Jared Polis responded to public outcry by announcing that his government was re-examining the case.
Several members of the Aurora Police Department and Aurora Fire Rescue are also named as defendants in the lawsuit.
Nine relief claims are listed in the filing, including excessive violence; Denial of equal protection; Failure to maintain basic safety and provide adequate medical care and treatment; Proper process in terms of content – Deprivation of liberty – Forced administration of medication; Battery that causes death; and negligence that causes unjustified death.
“We filed this civil rights lawsuit to seek justice for Elijah McClain, hold Aurora officials, police and paramedics accountable for his murder, and force the city of Aurora to change its longstanding pattern of brutal and racist policing.” McClain family attorney Mari Newman said in a press release the announcement of the filing.
When a spokesman for Aurora City reached out for comment, he said they had not been served and would not be able to comment on the submission until they had time to review.