No charges in fatal police confrontation in suburban Denver

November 23, 2019 GMT

AURORA, Colo. (AP) — Prosecutors will not file charges against police officers who were involved in a fatal confrontation with a man in suburban Denver.

District Attorney Dave Young said in a letter made public Friday night that he could not find indisputable evidence that Aurora officers or others used “unjustified” force when confronting Elijah McClain, 23, on Aug. 24, according to Sentinel Colorado.

“Based on the investigation presented and the applicable Colorado law, there is no reasonable likelihood of success of proving any state crimes beyond a reasonable doubt at trial,” Young wrote in the letter to Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz.

Police received a call about a person wearing a ski mask on a warm evening and waving his arms as he walked down a street. Officers said McClain refused to stop and fought back when they tried to take him into custody.

He suffered cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and was declared brain dead.

“If Aurora thinks this is appropriate policing, the community should be petrified,” Mari Newman, the McClain family’s attorney, said after the decision was released. “We are disappointed, but not surprised that once again, members of law enforcement will not (be) held criminally accountable for killing an unarmed black man.”

Police body camera footage released Friday shows McClain telling officers: “Let go of me. I am an introvert. Please respect the boundaries that I am speaking.”

According to Young’s report, officers said they took McClain to the ground when he tried to grab one of their holstered guns. One of the officers then put him in a specialized control hold, pressing against his carotid artery.

McClain repeatedly tells officers, “I’m just different” while sobbing.

While he was being restrained by police, an Aurora Fire Rescue medic also administered ketamine to try to sedate him.

A forensic pathologist working for the Adams County coroner’s office could not determine exactly what led to McClain’s death but said physical exertion during the confrontation likely contributed.

McClain’s younger sister, Samara McClain, told The Denver Post in September that her brother was walking to a corner store to get tea for a cousin and often wore masks when he was outside because he had a blood condition that caused him to become cold easily.

“He was a really good person,” she said. “He didn’t argue with anybody. If you tried to argue with him, he would just say ‘I love you’ and walk away.”


Information from: The Aurora Sentinel, http://www.aurorasentinel.com/