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Verdicts & Settlements

Mother of Elijah McClain Settles Wrongful Death Suit with Aurora Police

— October 19, 2021

The details of the settlement have yet to be publicly disclosed.

The mother of Elijah McCain, a Black man who died after an altercation with Colorado law enforcement, has settled her federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Aurora and its police department.

McClain, notes CBS News, was walking home from a convenience store when someone called 9-1-1 to report a person acting suspiciously. Police arrested McClain shortly after sighting him. A confrontation ensued when officers ordered McClain to stop.

However, McClain kept walking, and officers tried to subdue him.

After speaking with police, McClain told officers that he was on his way home and had not harmed or meant to harm anyone. He then explained that he had been listening to music and had thus not heard the officers’ commands.

While Aurora police officials said that McClain was violent and had tried reaching for their guns, body-camera footage of the encounter does not capture any evidence of these claims.

Nonetheless, since McClain was purportedly confrontational, paramedics injected him with ketamine to try and calm him down.

McClain then suffered a “heart event” on the way to the hospital; he was put on life support, and died several days later.

“Aurora’s brutality denied Elijah almost his entire adult life, a life of bright promise both for him and for the many people with whom he would have shared his light and compassion,” said the lawsuit, which was filed in August of 2020.

Ambulance. Image via Wikimedia Commons/user:Scott Sanchez. Listed as public domain.

The lawsuit claimed that the city, three police officers, and paramedics had violated McClain’s civil rights when they put McClain into a chokehold and then injected him with ketamine.

NBC News notes that McClain was sedated because he was exhibiting symptoms of a “dubious” medical condition called “excited delirium.”

“Elijah was listening to music, enjoying the short walk home from the corner store with some iced tea when Aurora police officers grabbed, tackled, and assaulted him,” the lawsuit said.

An attorney for McClain’s mother, Sheneen, told CBS News that they had reached a settlement with the city, “resolving all claims raised on her federal civil rights lawsuit.”

The details of the settlement are not yet public.

“The court will now determine allocation of the proceeds between Ms. McClain, the parent who raised Elijah McClain by herself, and Lawayne Mosley, the absent biological father,” the attorney said.

An attorney for Mosley released a separate statement on his behalf.

“Nothing will bring back his son Elijah, who he loved dearly, but he is hopeful that this settlement with Aurora, and the criminal charges against the officers and medics who killed Elijah, will his family and the community to begin to heal,” the attorney said.


Elijah McClain’s family settles lawsuit with Aurora, Colorado, over police confrontation (CBS)

Elijah McClain’s family settles lawsuit with Aurora, Colorado, over police confrontation (NBC)

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