The story of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old black man who died after being injected with ketamine in police custody is gaining much-needed traction. A viral petition demanding justice for the soft-spoken human who played the violin for kittens at a pet shop, bowed out of “respect for strangers” and loved music has officially crossed 2.3 million signatures on Change.Org.
According to Elijah’s family and the petition, Elijah was simply walking home from a convenience store after buying three iced teas (sound familiar?) when he was approached by officers who responded to a call from someone who reported seeing him walking while wearing a ski mask. The caller said they didn’t believe Elijah was dangerous but a struggle ensued between the aggressive officers and the man they said was “acting weird.”
“August 24th, 2019, 23-year-old Elijah McClain was walking home after buying some tea at a local convenience store. According to Elijah’s family, Elijah, who was anemic, preferred to wear a ski mask to keep his face warm while he was walking.”
Like so many other black men who lost their lives during an incident with police, Elijah said “I can’t breathe” after an officer put him in a carotid hold. Things then took an even more awful and ultimately deadly turn.
“Let me go. I am an introvert. Please respect my boundaries that I am speaking,” says Elijah in body camera footage. I have no gun. I don’t do that stuff,” he said. “I don’t do any fighting. Why are you attacking me? I don’t even kill flies.”
The carotid hold caused Elijah to faint briefly, he’s also seen repeatedly vomiting and sobbing while in handcuffs in the bodycam footage.
At one point, an officer also told McClain, “If you keep messing around, I’m going to bring my dog out, and he’s going to dog bite you,” reports The Hill. The officers thought they couldn’t “control” the 140-pound man so first responders were called to assist and Elijah was given a “therapeutic dose of ketamine” to sedate him. That so-called “therapeutic” dose was reportedly 500 milligrams. His family is adamant that the ketamine was unwarranted and they point out that Elijah was already laying still on the ground when it was administered.
Eliah stopped breathing and was loaded into an ambulance where he went into cardiac arrest on his way to the hospital. He was declared brain dead shortly before 4 p.m. on Aug. 27 and died three days later, reports The Hill.
The officers involved in his case, Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt, and Randy Roedema were placed on administrative leave. Ultimately they were reinstated to the force three months later after the district attorney declined to file charges against them and cleared them of any wrongdoing.
Elijah’s Change.Org petition is calling on the Aurora District Attorney Dave Young and Mayor Mike Coffman to reopen the case and seek justice for the young man.
Elijah is being remembered for being a loving caring human being as the world takes notice of his death and calls for justice.
Something has GOT to change.