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Colorado Governor Says He Asked Legal Counsel to Look into Elijah McClain Case


Elijah McClain

There have been renewed calls for further investigation of the 2019 death of 23-year-old massage therapist Elijah McClain in Aurora, Colorado. You can now number Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) among those who agree more needs to be done.

“Public confidence in our law enforcement process is incredibly important now more than ever,” he said in a statement published to Twitter on Wednesday. “A fair and objective process free from real or perceived bias for investigating officer-involved killings is critical.”

Jacki Cooper Melmed is Chief Legal Counsel for the governor’s office.

McClain’s death occurred almost a year ago, but it has garnered more attention in recent days. The debate over how law enforcement treats people of color was always ongoing, but it reached a new level of intensity after the death of Minnesota man George Floyd. Four officers were charged in his alleged murder. One of them, Derek Chauvin, was seen on video kneeling on the man’s neck, even after Floyd became unresponsive.

But there’s no such charges in the case of McClain. Police said they got a 911 call about a suspicious man. They encountered an individual (McClain) in a ski mask:

The male resisted contact, a struggle ensued, and he was taken into custody. Due to the level of physical force applied while restraining the subject and his agitated mental state, officers requested Aurora Fire Rescue (AFR) and Falck Ambulance respond to render professional medical attention.

Fire officials administered the sedative ketamine, and McClain suffered cardiac arrest. But he ended up brain dead, and he was later taken off of life support. McClain’s family blamed authorities for his condition.

Critics say that police were responsible for McClain’s death, applying force on him as he pleaded with them, saying he couldn’t breathe and didn’t commit any wrongdoing.

One of the officers involved used a banned carotid hold, which cuts off blood going to the brain, according to The Cut. Naomi McClain, Elijah’s sister, has told Denver7 that he had been wearing a ski mask because he had anemia and would get cold.

[Image via Law&Crime Network]

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