Elijah McClain’s family to receive $15 million in settlement

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Elijah McClain’s family to receive $15 million in settlement

Authorities in Aurora, Colo., finalized an agreement Friday to pay $15 million to Eliza McClain’s family to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit over a police confrontation in 2019, according to city officials and the family’s attorney. Gave. Mr McClain, a 23-year-old black man, died after police stopped him in the city that has since been banned.

The settlement, which was struck in principle in July, is the largest police settlement in the city’s history and the largest as a result of similar cases in the United States, according to McClane family lawyer Kusair Mohamadbhai.

Elijah McClain’s mother, Shannen McClain, said in an interview on Saturday that she considers the settlement an important step in the search for justice for her son’s death, but added that, “There is nothing that I have lost.” ” She also said that compromise comes with its own pain. “It’s still blood money, because my son’s blood is on that money.”

An allocation hearing will take place to determine the distribution of the settlement between Ms McClain and Mr McClain’s biological father, Louvain Mosley.

On August 24, 2019, police received a 911 call, in which the caller said that Mr McClain, who was on his way home from a convenience store, “looked sketchy” and was wearing a ski mask and was holding his arms. were waving.

Police arrived and pulled Mr McClain to the ground and subdued him with a “carotid hold”, which limits blood to the brain. According to an independent review, Mr McClain told officers he was just walking home. “I’m an introvert and I’m different,” he said during the confrontation, according to an audio recording from Stop. “I’m just different,” he said. “That’s all. That’s all I was doing. I’m sorry.”

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While in sobriety, Mr MacLaine told officers he could not breathe, and according to the review he vomited. When paramedics arrived about 15 minutes later, they injected him with ketamine, a powerful sedative. Mr McClain went into cardiac arrest on his way to the hospital and died a few days later.

Mr McClain’s parents filed a suit for damages on August 11, 2020, naming the city of Aurora, 12 police officers, two fire department paramedics and the department’s medical director as defendants.

“Over a period of 18 minutes, the defendants subjected Elijah to a procession of unnecessary and brute force techniques and unnecessary, recklessly administered medication, the combined effects of which he could not survive,” the lawsuit said.

Unrelated to the trial, a Colorado grand jury indicted three police officers and two paramedics on charges including manslaughter and criminal negligent homicide. According to Mr. Mohammadbhai, no hearing date has been fixed.

“This tragedy has greatly changed and shaped Aurora,” Aurora City manager Jim Twombly said in a statement Friday. “In the two years since his death, we have taken a close look at our policies, our prejudices, and our need to listen to our community.”

In 2020, Governor Jared Polis signed a comprehensive law enforcement reform bill that banned chokeholds and limited the use of deadly force. It also allows plaintiffs to circumvent “qualified immunity,” a principle that can protect police misconduct from lawsuits seeking damages.

Earlier this year, Governor Polis signed a bill that restricts the ability of emergency medical workers to administer ketamine.

“Eliza, here in Colorado, was a lightning rod for social justice reform,” said Mr. Mohammedbhai.

Mr McClain was a massage therapist who loved animals and music, having taught himself to play the guitar and violin.

His family knew him for his drive and determination to make life better, an energy that inspires those around him.

Mr McClain suffered from asthma in childhood, Ms McClain said. But with his perseverance, he became a strong runner.

“To be able to run on roads for hours, miles, both of us was something we were all proud of,” she said. “He was meeting all his obstacles, he was putting obstacles in the places in his path, and he was removing them.”

Since her son’s death, Ms McClain, who raised Mr McClain as a single mother, two of them sometimes living in her car and sometimes in hotels and shelters, has urged government officials to act on police reform. played an important role in motivating ,

“I have never seen such a campaign by parents to advance their communities and give meaning to Elijah’s senseless death,” said Mr. Mohammedbhai. “It really tends to show off their lightness and grace and beauty.”

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