Elijah was walking home from a convenience store wearing a ski mask and listening to music when a witness called 911 saying McClain appeared to be “sketchy” but he didn’t seem to pose a threat despite “flailing his arms” about because he was dancing to his music.
He often wore a ski mask because he had anemia and easily got cold in his town of Aurora, Colorado.
When a group of 3 police officers tackled him against a wall and then onto the ground he was unarmed and weighed an un-intimidating 140 pounds.
An officer applied the now-infamous carotid chokehold legal in Aurora at that time but now banned there and in many parts of the United States after George Floyd’s death.
Elijah was not being held for any legal reason and the police gave him no reason for being detained as they squeezed the life from his thin body.
Officers claimed later that McClain was reaching for one of their guns despite nothing on the body cameras showing this on either video or audio.
While being held suffocating on the ground for 15 minutes the paramedics were called and arrived giving Elija a shot of ketamine to sedate him.
The dosage of ketamine was not correctly dosed for his size and he had two heart attacks on the way to the hospital.
After arriving at the hospital he was declared brain dead and a few days later on August 30th, he was removed from the life support machines keeping him alive passing away shortly after.
The autopsy that was done by the city was determined to be “inconclusive” in discerning the cause of this peaceful man’s death.
Nathan Woodyard, Randy Roedema, and Jason Rosenblatt the three arresting officers and the unknown paramedic who administered the lethal dose of ketamine were cleared of any wrongdoing in the case despite the vague autopsy and obvious video evidence.
The supposedly “dislodged” police body cameras from video taken at the scene revealed Elija’s last words as the multiple murderers sat on him and had him in a chokehold.
“I can’t breathe. I have my ID right here. My name is Elijah McClain, That’s my house. I was just going home. I’m an introvert. I’m just different, that’s all.
I’m so sorry. I have no gun. I don’t do that stuff. I don’t do any fighting. Why are you attacking me?
I don’t even kill flies. I don’t eat meat. I’m a vegetarian. But I don’t judge people. And I respect all life. Forgive me. All I was trying to do was become better.
I will do it. I will do anything. Sacrifice my identity. I’ll do it. You all are phenomenal. You are beautiful. And I love you. Try to forgive me … I just can’t breathe correctly.”
At this point, Elijah began to vomit repeatedly from the immense pressure on his chest from the full weight of officers.
“If you keep messing around, I’ll bring my dog out here and he’s going to dog bite you,” one officer said as McClain continued to cry.
Here is the incident captured by police body cams.
The McClain family attorney Mari Newman at a press conference back in October described the torturous murder he went through.
“Elijah, a peaceful person, said, ‘Please respect my personal space.’ That’s what he said. But they didn’t do that,” Newman said.
“They slammed him up against the wall, they tackled him to the ground, and they continued to terrorize and torture him for 15 minutes.
Even as he was laying on the ground, fully restrained, they continued to use force against him—so much force that he was laying on the ground vomiting.”
He could often be found playing his violin for dogs and cats abandoned at the shelter because he was afraid they were lonely.
Thanks to the current political climate and protests jump-started after the horrifying death of George Floyd another unarmed black man murdered by police through the use of a carotid chokehold activists demand Elija’s case be reopened and as of today, they’ve gotten their wish.
A change.org petition has reached over three million signatures in the pursuit of finding justice for Elijah’s murder.
Vanessa Wilson Aurora Interim Police Chief passed a ban on the carotid chokehold and even declared a “duty-to-intervene” policy that requires officers to step in if they witness other officers using force that is “beyond objectively reasonable.”
Multiple celebrities have spoken out about Elijah’s case, including Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Aniston, Kelly Rowland, and Golden State Warriors basketball star Klay Thompson, who described McClain on Instagram as “a gentle soul who played violin to lonely kittens in his spare time” but “was murdered by Aurora CO police officers (who still roam free) for looking ‘suspicious’ on his way home from the convenience store.”
Thompson added: “Now remember, this is the same police force that apprehended James Holmes after slaying 12 people and injuring 70 others at an Aurora movie theatre midnight screening.
They subdued him without a scratch on his body. There is no debate that men, woman, and children of color are ‘policed’ to a much harsher and catastrophic standard than white America.”
Also weighing in was actress Kerry Washington, who tweeted the following list of demands, beginning with encouragement for concerned citizens to call Governor Jared Polis about the McClain tragedy.
After tweeting about the case on June 24th, Polis took action on June 25th, signing an executive order appointing Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser to “investigate, and if the facts support prosecution, criminally prosecute any individuals whose actions caused the death of Elijah McClain.”
Activism continues on the local level. Scheduled for 1 p.m. tomorrow, June 27, is the “Justice for Elijah McClain! Rally & March” at the Aurora Police Department headquarters, 15001 East Alameda Parkway.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation in Denver, which also sponsored a recent protest over the police-shooting death of William DeBose, lists the following demands:
1. Immediately fire all three APD officers (Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt, and Randy Roedema) and both paramedics who actively participated in Elijah’s murder.
2. Reopen the case and file criminal charges against all three APD officers and the two paramedics who actively participated in Elijah’s murder.
3. Provide immediate restitution to the McClain family, reflecting the incredible injustice committed against them. Do not drag it out any longer, forcing them to repeatedly defend the injustice of the cold-blooded murder of their child.
In the meantime, Sheneen McClain, Elijah’s mother, has launched a GoFundMe page introduced with an all-caps statement that begins:
“ELIJAH J. MCCLAIN, WE ARE LISTENING AND WE HEAR YOU SON, WE WILL WALK WITH YOU HOME, TO MAKE SURE YOU GET TO YOUR PROPER DESTINATION! WE LOVE YOU SON AND NEED TO GUIDE YOUR SOUL HOME TO A PEACEFUL EXIT FROM THIS WORLD SO YOU WONT SUFFER ANYMORE SON! I CALL IN DIVINE JUSTICE FOR ELIJAH J. MCCLAIN, I CLAIM IT FOR MY SON, A LIGHTWORKER KILLED BY DARKWORKERS, FOR FATHER GOD’S GLORY, IN JESUS’ NAME, AMEN.”
As of publishing this story, the McClain’s gofundme has reached over 1.7 million dollars pledged and the cries for justice are beginning to be heard as protests continue to show the people have the real power.
I’m sorry Elijah your death will not go unpunished.
Elijah’s story is told eloquently through this animated video I recommend watching. I cried heavily after so trigger warning.
— Holly Robinson Peete (@hollyrpeete) June 24, 2020