2 years after Elijah McClain's death, family announces settlement with city of Aurora, Colorado

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The family of Elijah McClain has announced a tentative settlement agreement with the city of Aurora, Colorado, in a federal civil rights lawsuit, according to statements from the city and family attorneys.

The settlement in principle comes more than two years since McClain's death after he was stopped by police while walking home from a convenience store. No additional information about the settlement was released.

"No amount of money can ever compensate Ms. (Sheneen) McClain for the devastating loss her son, who she raised as a single mother," attorney Matthew Cron said in a statement to USA TODAY. "Ms. McClain would give anything for Elijah to experience the full, long life that he so richly deserved."

The "allocation of the proceeds" for McClain's parents are being determined, Monday's statement says.

Mari Newman – attorney for McClain's father, LaWayne Mosley – also confirmed the settlement in an emailed statement.

"Nothing will bring back his son Elijah, whom he loved dearly, but he is hopeful that this settlement with Aurora, and the criminal charges against the officers and medics who killed Elijah, will allow his family and the community to begin to heal," the statement says.

Ryan Luby, deputy director of communications for the city of Aurora, confirmed in an emailed statement that the city had reached "a settlement agreement in principle over the summer" with McClain's family. Settlement details could not be revealed until the agreement was finalized, the statement says.

McClain, 23, died in August 2019 after police threw him to the ground and put him in a now-banned carotid artery chokehold. Aurora medics then injected McClain with 500 milligrams of ketamine, an emergency anesthetic, well over the maximum amount recommended for his weight, according to an investigation by Colorado’s Attorney General.

McClain, a vegetarian massage therapist and violin player, choked on his own vomit, had a heart attack and was declared brain-dead before dying six days later, his family has said.

Adams County District Attorney Dave Young initially declined criminal charges against the officers involved. But after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year brought new attention to McClain's death and prompted protests in Aurora, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser opened a grand jury investigation.

Elijah McClain plays violin in this undated photo
Elijah McClain plays violin in this undated photo

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In September, five officers and medics were indicted by a Colorado grand jury.

Later that month, a 14-month investigation found a pattern of racially biased policing and use of excessive force within the Aurora Police Department. The investigation also found Aurora police and fire departments failed to adequately record community interactions and unlawfully administered ketamine.

McClain's mother, Sheneen McClain, believes the indictments of the officers and paramedics, as well as the investigation, "are far more consequential ... than any city settlement," Cron said.

Contact News Now Reporter Christine Fernando at cfernando@usatoday.com or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Elijah McClain family announces settlement deal with Aurora, Colorado

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