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Colorado man Elijah McClain died from OD of sedative distributed by paramedics, autopsy shows

Noah and his older sister go to a mural of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died after an encounter with cops, prior to the twelve months anniversary of his death in Denver, Colorado, U.S., August 8, 2020. Picture taken August 8, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Mohatt//File Photo

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DENVER, Sept 23 (Reuters) – Elijah McClain, an unarmed Black man killed in 2019 after an encounter with police in Aurora, Colorado, died of an overdose of the powerful sedative ketamine that has been injected by paramedics, a fresh autopsy report released on Friday concluded.

Dr. Stephen Cina, a forensic pathologist who had initially figured McClain’s reason behind death was “undetermined,” wrote in his new report on Friday he had had insufficient information during his 2019 autopsy.

Three cops and two paramedics were criminally charged in McClains death in 2021, following protests.

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I really believe that Mr. McClain would probably be alive but also for the administration of ketamine, Cina wrote in Friday’s report.

McClain, 23, was walking home from the convenience store in the Denver suburb of Aurora on August 24, 2019, when he was faced with police giving an answer to a report he was acting suspiciously, although he had not been suspected of a crime.

The officers subdued McClain with a carotid neck hold and handcuffed him, in accordance with an indictment. Paramedics then arrived and injected him with a dose of ketamine too much for someone of his weight, based on the autopsy. McClain went into cardiac arrest and died days later at a hospital.

Months after his death, an area prosecutor declined to prosecute the initial responders, citing the original autopsy.

The McClain case drew national attention following a 2020 death of George Floyd beneath the knee of a white Minneapolis officer, which sparked global protests on the treatment of Black Americans for legal reasons enforcement.

Following a outcry, Colorado Governor Jared Polis appointed the states attorney general to examine McClain’s death. In September 2021, a grand jury indicted the three Aurora cops and two paramedics.

All five are charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide and so are set to enter pleas in November.

Last November, the town of Aurora decided to pay McClains parents $15 million to stay a federal civil rights lawsuit. Also this past year, Colorado’s attorney general determined that Aurora’s police routinely violated regulations by participating in racially biased policing and excessive usage of force.

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Reporting by Keith Coffman, Editing by Donna Bryson and Bill Berkrot

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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