The parents of Elijah McClain have filed a federal lawsuit against the Aurora police officers and paramedics involved in their son’s death.
According to the lawsuit filed on Tuesday, Aurora police officers should have never stopped McClain, tackled him nor choked him, and paramedics certainly had no business injecting him with ketamine, a medication mainly used for starting and maintaining anesthesia. McClain’s parents feel that these actions violated his constitutional rights.
“Plaintiffs bring this action seeking both accountability for the profound loss of a beautiful soul, and to ensure that Elijah did not die in vain by sending a resounding message that racism and brutality have no place in American law enforcement,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit also features a transcript of some of McClain’s heartbreaking last words, which were recorded on the officer’s body cameras.
“I can’t breathe correctly because… Ok, ok…I can’t sense myself. Ow! Ah! Ow! Stop, please!… I’m trying… Please help me,” the unarmed man said as he vomited.
The senseless murder took place on Aug. 24 when Aurora police officers stopped McClain after responding to a call about a suspicious person. For no apparent reason, the officers decided to detain the unsuspecting 23-year-old and violently slammed him to the ground and handcuffed him. A paramedic arrived and injected the young man with ketamine. This caused him to suffer cardiac arrest en route to the hospital, where he was later declared braindead. He passed away on Aug. 30. What is even more disturbing is that two of the officers who responded to the scene the night of McClain’s attack later returned to the area and took celebratory photos, smiling and re-enacting the chokehold that officers used on McClain.
“Even though Elijah had committed no crime and the police had absolutely no reason to suspect that he had, APD officers subjected Elijah to a lengthy, torturous use of force for eighteen minutes—fifteen of which Elijah was handcuffed and lying on the ground,” attorney Mari Newman said Tuesday in a statement. “The force that APD officers used against Elijah included compressing his neck, and the blood flow to his brain with two consecutive carotid holds, cranking his left shoulder with an armbar hammerlock that caused it to repeatedly pop, and, even after he was handcuffed with his hands behind his back, continuing to crush him under the weight of their bodies and repeatedly slamming him to ground.”
The lawsuit, which comes nearly a year after the incident, names the city of Aurora, the three Aurora officers who stopped McClain, Nathan Woodyard, Randy Roedema and Jason Rosenblatt as well as 10 other officers who were on scene, a paramedic and the doctor who oversees Aurora Fire Rescue’s ketamine program.
Sadly, McClain’s murder is not the only instance of systemic racism within the Aurora Police Department. The lawsuit states that the young animal lovers killing is part of a familiar pattern.
“Aurora’s unconstitutional conduct on the night of Aug. 24, 2019, is part of a larger custom, policy, and practice of racism and brutality, as reflected by its conduct both before and after its murder of Elijah McClain, a young Black man,” the lawsuit explains.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for Aurora, Michael Bryant, said that the city is reviewing the lawsuit.