The family of Elijah McClain is officially suing the city of Aurora, Colorado, the police officers involved in McClain’s detainment and the medical professionals who administered ketamine to the 23-year-old shortly before he was taken to the hospital and put on life support. The federal lawsuit was filed on Tuesday alleging that McClain’s civil rights were violated.
NBC News reports that the suit was filed with the U.S. District Court in Colorado and names several police officers, two paramedics and a fire department medical director.
“Elijah was listening to music, enjoying the short walk home from the corner store with some iced tea when Aurora police officers grabbed, tackled, and assaulted him,” the filing reads. “In a span of eighteen minutes, Defendants subjected Elijah to a procession of needless and brutal force techniques and unnecessary, recklessly administered medication, the combined effects of which he could not survive.”
The lawsuit comes less than two weeks after the Colorado Department of Public Health announced that it is launching a new investigation into the use of ketamine to sedate McClain and its possible contribution to his death. The suit also comes a little over a month after three federal agencies—the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the Denver Division of the FBI—released a joint statement confirming that they are reviewing McClain’s case for a “potential federal civil rights investigation.”
According to NBC, Mari Newman, an attorney representing McClain’s family, made it clear in a statement that the family is looking for justice, not just monetary compensation.
“Elijah Javon McClain was 23 years old when he was killed by Aurora police officers and paramedics,” Newman said. “Elijah’s killers extinguished the light of a beautiful young man who loved all beings.
“His compassion for animals was so strong that he played his violin for cats at animal shelters, believing that music eased their loneliness, and he was so averse to causing harm to another living being that he would chase flies away rather than swatting them,” she continued. “Yet when the Aurora Police Department officers encountered Elijah on the evening of August 24, 2019, they saw none of the kindness and gentleness for which he was known, but rather just another Black man in America.”