*UPDATE* We are winning! A Colorado grand jury has officially indicted three officers and two paramedics that were involved in the death of Elijah McClain. Each "faces one count of manslaughter and one count of criminally negligent homicide, with separate individual additional charges." These charges are a huge step forward, but we cannot stop paying attention and demanding justice for Elijah until a verdict is reached. Keep signing and sharing the petition!
Elijah was a 23-year-old massage therapist who was out buying an iced tea for his brother on August 24th, 2019. His friends and family describe him as gentle and sweet. He loved music and taught himself to play the violin as well as many other instruments, and loved to go running. He was a pacifist. During his lunch hour, he used to play violin for stray cats at local animal shelters to help them calm down. He was also a Black man.
That night, someone called the police about "suspicious behavior" because he was wearing a mask and walking along listening to music, maybe even dancing. You see, Elijah was anemic, which meant he felt cold a lot of the time and often wore many layers to stay warm, including a mask on his face. And even the caller said they didn't think he was a danger. He was unarmed and committed no crime. But police in Aurora Colorado restrained him before he even had time to take his headphones out, put him in a chokehold and eventually intructed the parademics to inject him with an amount of the sedative ketamine that would subdue a man twice his size.
According to the Sentinel Colorado, "McClain struggled with officers for nearly 15 minutes — repeatedly sobbing and vomiting — before he was sedated with 500 milligrams of ketamine and loaded into an ambulance. He survived two heart attacks en route to a nearby hospital, but he was pronounced brain dead three days later and died Aug. 30."
All three police officers involved claimed their body cameras mysteriously just fell off, but one officer can be heard intstructing another to "move your camera, dude," obviously trying to be sure the incident was not properly filmed. At another point an officer threatens to bring a dog to bite Elijah. Here is a transcription of some of Elijah's last words from those body cams while they slowly killed him.
"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. Forgive me. All I was trying to do was become better. I will do it. I will do better. 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 am a mood Gemini. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. Ow, that really hurt. You all are very strong. Team work makes the dream work... (crying).. oh I'm sorry. I just can't breathe correctly (proceeds to vomit from the pressure on his chest and neck)."
Elijah McClain should still be here today.
The officers responsible STILL have their jobs and no has been charged with his murder. Sign to demand justice for Elijah now!
After public outcry, the city of Aurora commissioned an independent investigation, but was forced to fire the lead attorney because not only was he not neutral — he was actually a former cop. They say they are now looking for a new, truly impartial investigator, but it's only because we spoke up. We need to keep demanding justice.
*Photo is of a mural by Thomas "Detour" Evans