City of Aurora to Pay $15m Settlement Over the Death of Elijah McClain


The city of Aurora, Colorado, has agreed to pay $15 million to the family of Elijah McClain.

The agreement is the highest police settlement in the history of Colorado.

City leaders will sign the agreement once the McClain family completes a separate process of dividing up the settlement.

“The city of Aurora and the family of Elijah McClain reached a settlement agreement in principle over the summer to resolve the lawsuit filed after his tragic death in August 2019,” a spokesperson for the city of Aurora, Ryan Luby, told The Guardian.

“City leaders are prepared to sign the agreement as soon as the family members complete a separate but related allocation process to which the city is not a party.”

McClain was on his way home on foot when the police stopped him. Not long after, he was placed in a banned carotid artery chokehold before being injected with ketamine, a powerful anesthetic.

“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 of the confrontation on Aug. 24, 2019.

Officers say they responded to a 911 call that McClain had worn a face mask into a convenience store to buy some iced tea. The caller said that he looked “suspicious.”

During the interaction, he told officers:

“I’m just different. I’m just different, that’s all. That’s all I was doing. I’m so sorry. I have no gun. I don’t do that stuff. I don’t do any fighting. Why were you attacking me? I don’t do guns. I don’t even kill flies. I don’t eat meat. … I am a vegetarian.”

Aurora police officers Randy Roedema, Nathan Woodyard and Jason Rosenblatt, have all been charged. All three were fired from their jobs last year. Paramedic Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec of the Aurora Fire Department have also been charged. They will each face one charge of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide as well as a variety of assault charges.

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