Grand jury indicts police officers and paramedics in 2019 death of Elijah McClain

Grand jury indicts police officers and paramedics in 2019 death of Elijah McClain

A Colorado grand jury has indicted five police officers and paramedics involved in the August 2019 death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who was stopped by police while walking home from a store, put in a carotid hold and then injected with ketamine, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced Wednesday.

Two Aurora Police Department officers, a former officer and two Aurora Fire Rescue Paramedics each face a count of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide as part of a 32-count indictment, Weiser said.

The two current officers also face assault charges and crimes of violence charges related to the assault. Two paramedics each face various assault charges including the use of a deadly weapon — ketamine — and face crimes of violence related to the assault charges, Weiser said.

“We’re here today because Elijah McClain is not here and he should be,” Weiser said. “When he died he was only 23 years old. He had his whole life ahead of him and his family and his friends must now go on and must live without him.”

The grand jury returned its results of the investigation on Thursday, the eve of the second anniversary of McClain’s death.

In the wake of his death, no charges were brought against the officers because, District Attorney Dave Young wrote last year, prosecutors lacked evidence to prove the officers caused McClain’s death or that their force was unjustified.

But the case gained renewed attention last June after the police killings of George Floyd and Breanna Taylor and mass Black Lives Matter protests. Spurred by those protests, Gov. Jared Polis announced a reexamination of the case last year, and Weiser opened a grand jury investigation into the casein January.

A 157-page report on McClain’s death released in February provided a critical view of police and fire rescue teams in the Denver suburb.

The report questioned the officers’ statements about McClain’s “superior strength,” criticized emergency medical responders’ decision to inject him with the sedative, and admonished the police department for failing to seriously question the officers afterward.

CNN is seeking comment from McClain’s family attorney and the Aurora Police Department, Aurora Fire Rescue, and all of the people under investigation.

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