Elijah McClain Update: Aurora City Council Bans Use Of Ketamine During Arrests

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Elijah McClain Update: Aurora City Council Bans Use Of Ketamine During Arrests
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Another life gone too soon. On August 24, 2019, 23-year-old Elijah McClain was walking home at night after getting some tea from a local convenience store. The young Black man — who spent his free time volunteering and playing his violin for animals at his local animal shelter — often wore a ski mask to keep his face warm while he was walking at night, as he was anemic. 

Elijah McClain updates: What happened to Elijah McClain?

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That night, the Aurora, Colorado Police Dept. received a call about a “suspicious man” walking around; that call ultimately led to Elijah’s death after officers placed him in a carotid hold, and a paramedic injected ketamine into Elijah, who was already unconscious at the time. 

Elijah McClain was pronounced dead on August 30, 2019, at just 23 years old. Since the world learned of his tragic and unnecessary death, there have been a few changes in Colorado that are a step in the right direction in bringing justice to Elijah McClain, but the work does not end there.

What laws have changed in Colorado since Elijah McClain’s death?

A petition on Change.org titled Justice for Elijah McClain was started a couple months ago, calling for the officers and the paramedic involved in Elijah’s death to be held accountable for their unfathomable actions. On Sept. 14, 2020, the Aurora City Council voted to temporarily ban the use of ketamine during arrests like Elijah’s.

"It's only right to suspend the use of it until if and when it is determined to be safe," Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman said at the City Council meeting Monday night.

While this is a step in the right direction, many are questioning why ketamine is able to be used during arrests in the first place.

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Have the officers involved in Elijah McClain’s death been arrested and charged? 

Officers Jason Rosenblatt, Erica Marrero, and Kyle Dittrich were fired after Elijah’s case was brought to light. Another officer, Jaron Jones, resigned after the incident. None of the officers have been arrested or charged.

Dave Young, the district attorney for Adams and Broomfield Counties in Colorado, declined to press charges against the officers saying, "In order to prove any form of homicide in the State of Colorado, it is mandatory that the prosecution prove that the accused caused the death of the victim."

"Based on the facts and evidence of this investigation," he added, "I cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers involved in this incident were not justified in their actions based on what they knew at the time."

We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and those who demand justice and equality in today’s political and societal climate. For more information about how you can help stand up to the injustices in this country, head on over to the BLM global network, or check out the resources available on the Equal Justice Initiative website.

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Olivia Jakiel is an editor and writer who covers celebrity and entertainment news. Follow her on Instagram and keep up with her zingers on Twitter

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