The public demands justice for Elijah McClain, the 23-year-old Black man who died after he was detained by police in Aurora, Colorado back in 2019.
As protests against racism and police brutality following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others continue, McClain’s case has attracted mainstream attention and the public demands answers.
Police approached McClain, who was unarmed and had not committed a crime after a 911 caller reported a “suspicious person in a ski mask.” The Aurora Police department claims he resisted arrest and tackled him to the ground. They placed him in a carotid hold before calling first responders who injected him with ketamine, a drug that works as anesthesia.
On his way to the hospital, McClain suffered a heart attack and died days later after he was declared brain dead.
His family maintains that the use of excessive force by law enforcement led to his death. The officers were cleared of wrong-doing based on questionable body-camera footage and an inconclusive autopsy.
The call to hold officers, Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt, and Randy Roedema responsible for their involvement in the death of McClain is imperative.
In September, McClain’s sister, Naomi McClain, told local ABC affiliate, Denver7, that he had simply gone to the store to purchase bottled tea for a cousin and wore a mask because “he had anemia and would sometimes get cold.”
Audio from the body camera footage reveals McClain pleads for police to let him go.
“I have no gun. I don’t do that stuff,” he cries, “ I don’t do any fighting. Why are you attacking me? I don’t even kill flies.”
Sheneen McClain recalls her son’s desire to change the world, “it’s crazy because he ended up doing it anyway.” As a teen, Elijah taught himself to play guitar and violin and would visit animal shelters on his lunch breaks to perform music for the animals.
At the time of his death, Elijah worked as a massage therapist at a Massage Envy in Englewood. His then-manager, April Young says “he had a child-like spirit, Elijah McClain was not conditioned to the norms of America…He lived in his own little world” she continues, “He was never into, like fitting in. He was just who he was.”
Over 2 million people have signed a petition that urges government officials in Aurora, Colorado to conduct a new investigation into Elijah’s death. Our prayer is that justice is served for a life that should have never been taken in the first place.
For More On Why We Still Must Fight: