Troubling details have emerged following the release of an amended autopsy report about the death of Elijah McClain – a 23-year-old Black man who died in police custody back in 2019 – as a Denver coroner added “complications of ketamine administration following forcible restraint.”
Coroner Stephen Cina’s updated autopsy results for McClain, which were amended in July 2021 but released until Friday after a Denver District Court judge approved the coroner’s emergency motion, according to CNN.
For three years, the original report had only listed his death as “undetermined,” which failed to note whether his cause of death was natural, accidental or a homicide.
“Suspicious Person” Call Leads To McClain’s Death After Officer’s And EMT’s “Forcible” Injected Him With Ketamine
Back in August 2019, police responded to a call about a “suspicious person.”
That person ended up being McClain, who was wearing a black ski mask at the time he was placed in a neck hold and injected with ketamine after buying iced tea at a nearby corner store.
"I can’t breathe. I have my ID right here. My name is Elijah McClain. That’s my house. I was just going home. I’m an introvert. I’m just different. That’s all. I’m so sorry. I have no gun. I don’t do that stuff. I don’t do any fighting. Why are you attacking me? pic.twitter.com/mNm0u6gO6w
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) September 24, 2022
He was administered the drug once again after being forcibly restrained, and ultimately suffered a heart attack en route to the hospital.
Three days later, he was declared brain dead.
Coroner Updates Autopsy Report: McClain “Would Still Be Alive” If Not For Ketamine Administration
Cina’s amended autopsy report noted that “the dosage of ketamine was too high for this individual” and added McClain “would most likely (still) be alive” if not for the administration of ketamine,” according to CNN.
“Simply put, this dosage of ketamine was too much for this individual, and it resulted in an overdose, even though the blood ketamine level was consistent with a ‘therapeutic’ concentration,” Cina wrote. “I believe that Mr. McClain would most likely be alive but for the administration of ketamine.”
The changes were reportedly made after the coroner’s office received “body camera footage, witness statements, and additional records that were a part of the grand jury investigation or available when the original autopsy was performed.”
Elijah McClain deserved better. pic.twitter.com/L7dZCJz1AB
— Housing Is A Human Right (@writeramona) September 26, 2022
Body Camera Footage Shows McClain’s Last Moments As He Begged For His Life While Officer’s Detained Him
Body camera footage obtained by 9 News had been previously leaked to the public, showing McClain struggling with officers telling them he was “an introvert” and that he was going home, as he begged the cops to stop.
“Relax or I’m going to have to change this situation,” one of the officers can be heard saying. “We don’t want to do this…. Now stop fighting or you’re gonna get tased.”
McClain himself could be heard profusely apologizing to officers and telling them he couldn’t “breathe correctly” as he vomited from the pressure to his neck and chest.
While the update to McClain’s autopsy report provides some more clarity to his family regarding the nature of his death, the exact matter in which McClain died remains listed as “undetermined,” despite the coroner’s updated autopsy report.
Autopsy Report Still Lists McClain’s Death As “Undetermined,” Colorado Judge Moving Forward With Cases Against Officers Involved
In fact, parts of the new report come defend the responding police officers, with Cina writing he had “seen no evidence that injuries inflicted by the police contributed to (his) death.”
McClain’s family won $15 million civil rights lawsuit against the city of Aurora in November of last year, The Shade Room previously reported.
A Colorado judge also found enough evidence to move cases forward for the five former police officers involved in McClain’s death.
Since his death, there have been numerous vigils and Black Lives Matter protests in McClain’s name.