The city of Aurora, Colorado, has agreed to award the family of Elijah McClain $15 million in a settlement over his wrongful death. The hefty sum marks Colorado’s largest police settlement ever, according to The Daily Beast.
One year after a federal lawsuit was launched against the city, prompting a second investigation into the matter, a court has determined that the officers involved in the arrest and killing of McClain violated the victim’s civil rights and are at fault for his death.
Police put McClain in a chokehold as he was walking with groceries in 2019, and paramedics injected him with a large amount of ketamine. He was 23. pic.twitter.com/GrnaH4BaEL
— AJ+ (@ajplus) November 18, 2021
Denver’s CBS local station reports city officials disclosed an agreement was reached but chose to stay anonymous and wouldn’t share details of the settlement until it became official.
“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. 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. Until those issues are resolved and the agreement is in its final form, the parties cannot disclose the settlement terms,” officials wrote in a statement.
McClain, a Black massage therapist, was arrested in 2019 while walking home from a convenience store after someone reported a suspicious person in the area.
Officers engaged McClain in a verbal altercation that quickly turned physical as the authorities present placed him in a chokehold and administered a powerful sedative, ketamine, which caused him to go into cardiac arrest. McClain died days later after being taken off of life support at the local hospital. He was not armed at the time of his arrest.
Sheneen McClain, Elijah’s mother, also filed a civil lawsuit against the city for his death. As Blavity previously reported, the city and Sheneen reached a settlement last month. Sheneen and Elijah’s biological father, Lawayne Mosley, are still deciding how the funds will be properly allocated. A court date has been scheduled for Friday.
Legal representatives on behalf of Sheneen released a statement following the news.
“Ms. McClain would like to thank the community for its incredible support, love, and commitment to ensuring that Elijah’s death would lead to meaningful reform. Ms. McClain raised Elijah as a single mother and his death has left an enormous void in her life. While nothing will fill that void, Ms. McClain is hopeful that badly needed reforms to the Aurora Police Department will spare other parents the same heartache.”
Three officers and two paramedics have been indicted for his death and are all facing charges ranging from manslaughter to criminally negligent homicide. The Aurora Police department still maintains it did nothing wrong.