Roommates, the family of Elijah McClain, have officially filed a lawsuit against the Aurora, Colorado Police Department and medical officials who tended to him once he was brought to the hospital before he died. The wrongful death lawsuit follows Elijah McClain’s death at the hands of Aurora officers who placed the 23-year-old in a chokehold late last year.
With the federal civil rights lawsuit, Sheneen McClain and Lawayne Mosley (Elijah McClain’s parents) said they were seeking both accountability for the loss of a “beautiful soul” and to send a message that “racism and brutality have no place in American law enforcement.”
The lawsuit alleges that Elijah McClain was unlawfully stopped on the street in August 2019 and that officers later sought to justify their aggressive treatment of him by filing an assault charge against him—while also making a notation in a police report suggesting that he was connected with a gang.
Aurora, Colorado PD spokesman Julie Patterson said the city attorney is reviewing the lawsuit, but she declined to comment further at this time.
In addition to filing the formal lawsuit, McClain’s parents also said in a statement, released by their lawyer, that their son was a “creative and peaceful man who played his violin for cats at animal shelters to ease their loneliness and would not swat a fly.”
As we previously reported, body-cam footage of Elijah’s death shows an officer physically turn Elijah around, startling him, and repeats, “Stop tensing up.” As Elijah tries to escape the officer’s grip, the officer then says, “Relax, or I’m going to have to change this situation.”
That’s when the other officers join to restrain him, and Elijah he begs them to let go and says, “You guys started to arrest me, and I was stopping my music to listen.” Elijah was placed in a chokehold and paramedics gave him 500 milligrams of ketamine to calm him down, which tragically killed him.
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