As people across the nation have not let up on their demands for police reform, there have been renewed calls for justice in numerous cases that may have been overlooked the past few years and one of those stories that is rising to prominence is that of Elijah McClain.
People learning about the bright-smiled young man who loved to play violin were outraged at the outcome of his tragic story. Elijah, who was from Aurora, Colorado, died of a heart attack after three officers responding to a suspicious person call on August 24, 2019, put him in a carotid chokehold and had him injected with a heavy dose of ketamine (a tranquilizer.)
A disturbing and graphic body cam video shows Elijah McClain, just 140 pounds, struggled with officers for nearly 15 minutes — repeatedly sobbing and vomiting — before he was sedated with the ketamine and loaded into an ambulance, according to Yahoo Life. He survived two heart attacks en route to a nearby hospital, but he was pronounced brain dead three days later and died on August 30th of 2019.
Nearly a year after his death, and people are now demanding his case be looked into again because not only was Elijah never suspected of any crime and was unarmed, but the officers involved are still working in the field with no charges against them.
The only form of discipline they received was being placed on temporary leave. Additionally, authorities were unable to determine whether McClain’s death was an accident, a result of natural causes, or if it’s a homicide directly related to the officers’ use of a carotid hold.
Now more than 2 million people have signed a petition in support of a new investigation into his death.
Officers escalated the situation when Elijah apparently didn’t stop for them because he had his earphones in. He was just walking from the convenience store back to his home.
“He is laying on the ground vomiting, he is begging, he is saying, ‘I can’t breathe.’ One of the officers says, ‘Don’t move again. If you move again, I’m calling in a dog to bite you,’” Mari Newman, the McClain family attorney, says in the petition.
Below is a transcription of Elijah’s last words. They’re absolutely gut-wrenching.
“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? I don’t even kill flies! I don’t eat meat! But I don’t judge people, I don’t judge people who do eat meat.
All I was trying to do was become better. I will do it. I will do anything.
Sacrifice my identity, I’ll do it. You all are phenomenal. You are beautiful and I love you.
Try to forgive me.
I’m a mood Gemini. I’m sorry.
I’m so sorry. Ow, that really hurt. You are all very strong. Teamwork makes the dream work.
(*crying*) Oh, I’m sorry I wasn’t trying to do that.
I just can’t breathe correctly.”
The district attorney’s office has been bombarded with tens of thousands of emails and calls and the local police department has received hundreds of complaints.
“I don’t open up investigations based on petitions,” Adams County District Attorney Dave Young told Colorado Politics. “Obviously, if there is new evidence to look at, I will look at the evidence in any case.”
We’ll keep you posted on any updates as people continue to share Elijah’s story.
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