Independent Investigation Finds Police Had No Legal Basis to Restrain Elijah McClain

It was determined today that the Arora police and paramedics made substantial errors at nearly every stage of their interaction with Elijah McClain. The detectives tasked with investigating the incident that led to the 23-year-old’s death stretched the truth to exonerate the officers involved, an independent investigation found.

via: Complex

An independent investigation released on on Monday found that Aurora police officers had no legal basis to stop, frisk, or physically restrain Elijah McClain during the 2019 incident that resulted in his death, The Denver Post reports.

The probe determined that the officers, who were responding to a call about a suspicious person, approached McClain without accusing him of committing a crime. “This decision had ramifications for the rest of the encounter,” the report states. Officers Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt, and Randy Roedema failed to establish reasonable suspicion towards McClain which would’ve warranted them to perform an investigatory stop, or Terry stop.

The three men claim McClain was wearing a mask, which vaguely fit the description of the individual that they were looking for, but their other reasons for detaining McClain involved him acting “suspicious,” and being in an area with a “high crime rate.” The investigation states that whenever an officer uses “forceful techniques” on someone, then their decision to conduct an investigatory stop based on reasonable suspicion generally leads to an arrest. In McClain’s case, the three cops couldn’t check off any of these boxes, which leads one to question how the investigation carried out by the department’s detectives in the Major Crimes Unit didn’t reach these conclusions.

A review of the initial investigation into McClain’s death was found to be deeply flawed with detectives choosing to ask the officers “questions frequently appeared designed to elicit specific exonerating ‘magic language’ found in court rulings.” The three men were not charged for killing McClain. “In addition, the report of the Major Crime Unit stretched the record to exonerate the officers rather than present a neutral version of the facts,” the report states.

The investigation also found fault with the paramedics who arrived at the scene for accepting the officers’ assessment of McClain’s behavior, as well as administering an amount of ketamine that exceeded the acceptable dosage for someone of his weight.

“Aurora Fire appears to have accepted the officers’ impression that Mr. McClain had excited delirium without corroborating that impression through meaningful observations or diagnostic examination of Mr. McClain,” the report said. “In addition, EMS administered a ketamine dosage based on a grossly inaccurate and inflated estimate of Mr. McClain’s size. Higher doses can carry a higher risk of sedation complications, for which this team was clearly not prepared.”

The parademics injected the 140-pound McClain with 500 milligrams of ketamine, a suitable dosage for a person believed to be 190 pounds. McClain went into cardiac arrest en route to the hospital, and was later declared brain dead. He was taken off life support on Aug. 30.

McClain’s family has already filed a lawsuit against the city of Aurora, a number of police officers, two paramedics, and the medical director of the fire department. “This report confirms what we have been saying from the start,” McClain’s father, LaWayne Mosley, said in a statement, per NBC News. “The Aurora police and medics who murdered my son must be held accountable.”

In response to the report, Elijah’s mother Sheneen told CNN’s Omar Jimenez that she was tearfully overjoyed to receive confirmation about something she’s known all along—her son was the victim. “It was overwhelming knowing my son was innocent the entire time and just waiting on the facts and proof of it,” Sheneen said. “My son’s name is cleared now, he’s no longer labeled a suspect. He is actually a victim.”

So what happens now? Are criminal charges filed.

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