Three key takeaways from the devastating investigation into the 23-year-old’s death in Aurora police custody
A damning report, publicly released Monday, identified deficiencies at almost every stage of Aurora police and paramedics’ treatment of Elijah McClain, including the police investigation after McClain died in her care.
A three-person committee commissioned by the city used body cameras, written narratives and interviews to compile the 157-page report.
Here are three main points:
No legal basis for detention
The three officers who first contacted McClain had no legal reason to force him to stop, put their hands on him, or knock him out with a carotid artery. The 911 operator simply reported a suspect and officers had no reasonable suspicion that McClain had committed a crime.
“The use of force by officers did not seem to abate even after Mr. McClain was handcuffed, became increasingly sick and unresponsive, and was surrounded by a large group of officers,” the report said.
Paramedics did not do due diligence
The Aurora Fire Rescue paramedics who responded to the scene spent minutes watching the police interact with McClain before acting, and didn’t perform a basic diagnosis on McClain – or even talk to him – before giving him this Ketamine injected sedative.
“Aurora Fire appears to have accepted the officials’ impression that Mr. McClain caused delirium without substantive observations or diagnostic tests from Mr. McClain,” the report said.
Internal investigation failed
Aurora Police Department and Denver Police Department detectives charged with interrogating officers involved in the forcible arrest found the officers’ continued use of force against McClain, which included the carotid artery, forcible takedown, and leaning, “made no sense examined “. McClain is back lying on the floor.
Detectives did not ask the officers how they justified the use of force, but asked key questions. Their report formed the basis for the 17th District Attorney’s decision not to charge the officers with a criminal offense.
The detectives’ report “did not present a neutral, objective version of the facts and ignored seemingly conflicting evidence,” the investigation said.
Read the full story in the investigators’ report.
Rachel Ellis, The Denver Post
A painting of Elijah McClain is held in the air as people march during a rally for Elijah McClain at the Colorado State Capitol on November 21, 2020.