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Elijah McClain: Federal lawsuit filed in death of man placed in chokehold & injected with ketamine during arrest

The family of Elijah McClain filed a civil lawsuit against the officers and paramedics involved in his August 2019 death.

The federal lawsuit claims McClain’s constitutional rights were violated when Aurora police put him in a chokehold before paramedics injected him with 500mg of ketamine. It also stated that law enforcement subjected McClain to the “needless use of excessive force and torture.”

Officers responding to a suspicious person call detained McClain, 23, as he walked home from a corner store. The lawsuit alleged that during the 20-minute encounter, officers put McClain in a carotid hold and violently restrained him with an armbar and their knees, according to KMGH.

The Denver Post reported that a paramedic administered ketamine after McClain was handcuffed.

Officers’ body cameras reportedly recorded McClain saying, “Let go of me. I am an introvert. Please respect the boundaries that I am speaking.”

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McClain went into cardiac arrest and was declared brain dead before he was taken off life support. McClain’s autopsy was inconclusive, but the report stated that “intense physical exertion and a narrow left coronary artery contributed to [his] death.”

According to the Associated Press, police asserted that McClain refused to stop walking and fought officers while reaching for one of their guns. The lawsuit not only disputes this account but charges that two of the officers said all three cops put their full body weight on McClain.

The wrongful death lawsuit lists as defendants the three responding Aurora police officers — Nathan Woodyard, Randy Roedema, and Jason Rosenblatt — in addition to 10 other officers, a paramedic, the city of Aurora, and the doctor who manages Aurora Fire Rescue’s ketamine program.

Officials announced in November that the three officers involved in the deadly encounter wouldn’t face criminal charges.

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[Featured image: Elijah McClain/GoFundMe, Change.org]