After tireless protests and over 2 million petition signatures, the Colorado authorities have finally reopened the investigation of Elijah McClain’s death.
On Thursday, Colorado Governor Jared Polis designated Attorney General Phil Weiser to “investigate and, if the facts support prosecution, criminally prosecute any individuals whose actions caused the death of Elijah McClain”.
"I was moved by speaking with Elijah's mother and her description of her son as a responsible and curious child..who could inspire the darkest soul,” said Polis. "Now more than ever, we must do something within our power to foster public trust and confidence in law enforcement and the criminal justice system," he continued.
Almost a year has passed now since Elijah McClain died in the custody of Colorado police. The Aurora Police Department officers were responding to a report of a suspicious person in a ski mask. His family explained that he was anemic and wore the face mask to keep warm.
The officers moved to subdue McClain who recoiled as he tried to reason with the police: "I am an introvert. Please respect the boundaries that I am speaking."
"I was just going home. I don't have a gun. I don't do that stuff. I don't even kill flies. I don't even eat meat," pleaded McClein.
Police officers kept Elijah in a control hold for 15 minutes. The paramedics then injected him with 500 mg of ketamine. Elijah, 23 at the time, went into cardiac arrest after being placed in an ambulance. He was declared brain dead on August 27th and removed from life support three days later.
The Adams County Coroner's Office stated that McClain died from "undetermined causes," but it is possible that the force used by the police as well as the ketamine administered could have led to his death.
"It's unfortunate that it takes international media pressure and petitions signed by two million people before the elected officials would do their jobs, and by elected officials I mean the DA and the mayor," said Mari Newman, a lawyer for McClain's family.