2 months ago
2 months ago
According to an altered autopsy report made public on Friday, a Black man died in 2019 following a police contact in a Denver suburb because he received an injection of a potent sedative after being physically detained.
The study reveals that despite the discovery, the death of 23-year-old massage therapist Elijah McClain was remained labeled as undetermined and not a homicide. McClain was stopped by Aurora police for "being suspicious" and then placed in a neck hold and given ketamine injections. He had no weapons.
The initial autopsy report, which was completed shortly after his death in August 2019, could not come to a conclusion regarding how he passed away or what kind of death it was, such as whether it was a homicide, an accident, or something else else. That was a significant factor in the prosecution' initial decision not to press charges.
However, a state grand jury last year indicted three cops and two paramedics on charges of manslaughter and reckless murder in McClain's death after the death of George Floyd in 2020 brought the matter back to light. During the national reckoning over racism and police brutality, it turned into a rallying cry.
The five accused have not yet officially admitted guilt, and neither have their attorneys.
He stated that he could not rule out the possibility that McClain's exertion while being restrained by police caused changes in his blood chemistry, such as an increase in lactic acid, which contributed to his demise, but he came to the conclusion that there was no proof that the injuries sustained by the police caused McClain's demise.
Cina remarked that body camera footage shows McClain being "very drowsy" within a few minutes of being administered the drug, adding, "I feel that Mr. McClain would most likely be alive except for the administration of ketamine."
Cina noted that other reasonable pathologists with different experience and training might have classified a death that occurred while a person was being held by the police as a homicide or accident, but he believes the correct categorization is unclear.
The mother of McClain, Sheneen McClain, is represented by Qusair Mohamedbhai, who declined to comment.
Dr. Carl Wigren, a forensic pathologist in Washington state, questioned the report's emphasis on ketamine, claiming that all the evidence points to McClain dying as a result of compressional asphyxia, a type of suffocation, from officers applying pressure to his body while restraining him. This includes a highly critical independent review of McClain's death that Aurora commissioned last year. He was shocked by a line in the city's study that quoted the ambulance company's account that its crew discovered McClain laying on the ground on his stomach with at least three officers on top of him, his arms shackled behind his back, his body and legs restrained.