*Elijah McClain’s parents have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Aurora, Colorado police and the paramedics involved with their son’s death.
“We have filed this civil rights lawsuit to demand justice for Elijah McClain, to hold accountable the Aurora officials, police officers, and paramedics responsible for his murder, and to force the City of Aurora to change its longstanding pattern of brutal and racist policing,” the family said in a statement released by their attorney Mari Newman.
According to the Associated Press, the family’s lawsuit alleges officials violated Elijah’s constitutional rights.
The 23-year-old had been walking from a local convenience store when he was confronted by three white officers on August 24. He reportedly explained that he was on his way home, but they accused him of acting strange, placed him in a chokehold and pinned him to the ground.
McClain started vomiting and told the officers he was having difficulty breathing. He lost consciousness for 15 minutes and the officers called for assistance. Firefighters and an ambulance responded to the scene and pumped McClain with 500 milligrams of the drug ketamine in an attempt to sedate him, claiming he was in an agitated state.
McClain, who enjoyed playing the violin to cats at animal shelters, suffered a heart attack and fell into a coma. He was taken to a hospital where he was declared brain dead three days later. He was removed from life support on August 30, 2019.
APD officers identified as Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt, and Randy Roedema responded to the 911 call by someone who described McClain as a “suspicious person” despite not being armed or having committed a crime. He was wearing an open-face ski mask due to his anemia, which would sometimes make him feel cold, his family said.
Police defended the officers’ actions because McClain was wearing a ski mask.
“The extended, needless use of excessive force and torture by Aurora Police Department officers and the subsequent injection of a massive ketamine overdose by Aurora Fire Rescue paramedics overwhelmed Elijah’s body. He could not recover,” the suit filed Tuesday reads.
The suit emphasizes that “racism and brutality have no place in American law enforcement.”
In June, millions signed a petition demanding justice for McClain.