In 2018, 29-year-old Jerica LaCour died after a paramedic injected her with a fatal dose of ketamine, the same sedative used to kill Elijah McClain. According to an NBC report, LaCour’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the health care worker and the ambulance company.
Jan 11, 2018, police responded to a call about a distressed person trespassing on private property, per the report. LaCour was allegedly drinking and walking around a parking lot in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She was also reported to be laying on the ground crying uncontrollably. Officers, firefighters and an ambulance arrived at the scene. Per the lawsuit, a paramedic, Jason Poulson, injected LaCour with 400 milligrams of ketamine. Shortly after the injection, LaCour stopped breathing.
Her husband, Anthony, said he will never understand why his wife’s life was taken. “My wife was taken out of here for no reason. I think about her every day, every night and when I dress our kids,” he said to NBC.
Read more about the suit from NBC News:
Before Poulson, the paramedic in charge of medical care at the scene, administered the ketamine, Leah Grissom, a firefighter and EMT with the Cimarron Hills Fire Department, objected and pointed out that LaCour had already been restrained and had calmed down, the lawsuit stated.
Last year, Colorado’s health department said emergency workers should not take into account erratic behavior when determining whether to inject someone with the fast-acting sedative. Nevertheless, the family’s attorney, Daniel Kay, said LaCour was not combative before she was given ketamine.
“LaCour’s behavior did not fit the criteria of excited delirium,” the lawsuit stated.
LaCour died from acute alcohol and ketamine intoxication, the El Paso County Coroner’s Office said in its report. It also found that she had recently ingested cocaine and was obese.
It wasn’t until after Elijah McClain died of the same cause in 2019 that the health department decided to do something to change the use of ketamine.
There could have been an alternative to calming down LaCour rather than sedating her. However, it seems like an officer’s perception of a Black person being a threat, even if they’re as timid as Elijah, will just result in a fatality.