“I can’t breathe. I have my ID right here. My name is Elijah McClain. I was just going home.” – Elijah McClain
The senseless murders of young black men and women by police officers are an ongoing thread. It seems to be a new name, a new hashtag every day. It was last August when 23-year old, Elijah McClain, lost his life while in police custody. Now activists are urging Aurora, Colorado officials to conduct a new investigation.
Elijah McClain was walking home from a grocery store on Aug. 24th, when he was stopped by three Aurora police officers. According to an anonymous 911 call, McClain was wearing a ski mask and “acting weird”. McClain’s family stated he wore a ski mask often because he was anemic.
During a struggle with McClain, one of the officers accused him of reaching for another officer’s gun. This resulted in the officer placing McClain in a chokehold. The audio from the body camera captured McClain asking the officers to let him go while begging for his life.
“I have no gun. I don’t do that stuff,” McClain said. “I don’t do any fighting. Why are you attacking me? I don’t even kill flies.”
McClain eventually passed out from the pressure of the chokehold which prompted the officers to call for medical assistance. Once paramedics arrived on the scene, they injected him with ketamine to sedate him. Shortly after the injection, paramedics noticed McClain was no longer breathing. While being transported to a local hospital, McClain went into cardiac arrest. He died on Aug. 30th after he was taken off life support.
Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt, and Randy Roedema were placed on administrative leave but were reinstated three months later after the District Attorney, Dave Young declined to file charges against them.
The DA’s office stated they have “received more than 10,000 emails and 1,000 voicemails asking the office to further investigate the case”. An independent review of McClain’s death has been ongoing since January; however, Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman announced on Jun. 12th that there will be a new internal investigation.