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  • Colorado to pay Elijah McClain family $15m settlement

Colorado city officials have confirmed that the family of a black man who died following a confrontation with the police will receive a (£11m) $15m settlement.

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Elijah McClain, 23, died in 2019 in the city of Aurora, three days after being stopped by three officers and injected with a potent sedative.

The McClain family - who filed the federal civil rights lawsuit last year - has demanded accountability. The payout represents the highest wrongful death settlement in the state.

Legal representatives for McClain's mother Sheneen told local TV station CBS4 Denver that she was thankful for the community's support and remained hopeful her son's death would lead to "badly needed reforms".


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Details of the agreement have not yet been made public by the city. McClain's case was among several to receive renewed attention following the death of another unarmed black man - George Floyd - last year.

The young man was walking alone in the Denver suburb of Aurora on 24 August 2019 when he was stopped by three police officers responding to an emergency call about a "suspicious person" matching his description.

There was a struggle after McClain resisted contact with the officers, who wanted to search him to see if he was armed. On bodycam footage, McClain, who was autistic, can be heard saying, "I'm an introvert, please respect my boundaries."

Officers wrestled McClain to the ground and put him in a chokehold. McClain's family has alleged that the officers used excessive force for about 15 minutes as McClain vomited, begged for them to stop, repeatedly told them he could not breathe, and briefly lost consciousness. The officers also threatened to set a police dog on him, the family said.

The officers called for assistance, with firefighters and an ambulance responding. A fire medic injected McClain with 500mg of the drug ketamine to sedate him. He was declared brain dead on 27 August.

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More than two years later, the three officers and two medics involved in McClain's death were indicted on 32 charges, including manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.

Family and friends have described McClain as an "angel among humans". A massage therapist by trade, he reportedly played his violin to animals at a shelter that were waiting to be adopted "so they wouldn't be lonely".

The $15m settlement in Aurora is not as large as the $27m payout made by the city of Minneapolis to the family of George Floyd earlier this year, but it is by far the largest in city history.

Hammed Zubair

posted 2021-11-20 10:03:55

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