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News > U.S.

Colorado City Pays $15 Million to Family Over Police Murder

  • Elijah McClain’s family has won a $15M settlement with the city of Aurora, Colorado.

    Elijah McClain’s family has won a $15M settlement with the city of Aurora, Colorado. | Photo: Twitter/@TheRoot

Published 19 November 2021

The city of Aurora, Colorado agreed to pay $15m to the family of Elijah McClain to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed over his murder by the police.

This will be the highest police settlement in the history of Colorado, according to ABC News. Similarly, CBS News said three sources “familiar” with the agreement confirmed the $15m total for the settlement, which will close the civil rights lawsuit filed by McClain’s family.

Spokesperson for the city of Aurora, Ryan Luby, said: “The city of Aurora and the family of Elijah McClain reached a settlement agreement in principle over the summer to resolve the lawsuit filed after his tragic death in August 2019.


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“City leaders are prepared to sign the agreement as soon as the family members complete a separate but related allocation process to which the city is not a party.”

The agreement arrives a year after McClain’s family sued the Aurora police department and medical officials, accusing the police of a consistent pattern of racism and brutality.

The lawsuit states that McClain, a 23-year-old Black man, was unlawfully stopped on the street and officers later sought to justify their treatment by filing an assault charge against McClain, suggesting connection with a gang in the police report.

Police stopped McClain while he was wearing a ski mask and headphones, after a 911 call from someone who reported him as “sketchy."

Body camera video showed an officer approaching McClain and saying: “Stop right there. Stop. Stop … I have a right to stop you because you’re being suspicious.”

The officer turns McClain, who was startled, and repeats: “Stop tensing up.” As McClain tries to escape the officer’s grip, the officer says: “Relax or I’m going to have to change this situation.”

As other officers restrain McClain, he begs them to let go: “You guys started to arrest me and I was stopping my music to listen.”

Police then placed him in a chokehold, and paramedics gave him 500mg of ketamine, saying McClain refused to stop walking and fought back when officers tried to take him into custody. They similarly claimed he was trying to take an officer’s gun.

In the video, McClain told officers: “Let go of me. I am an introvert. Please respect the boundaries that I am speaking.”

McClain suffered cardiac arrest and was declared brain dead and taken off life support. When a prosecutor said last year there was not enough evidence to charge the officers, the governor of Colorado, Jared Polis, directed the state attorney general to open a new investigation.

In February 2021, an independent investigation found that police officers did not have any legal basis to stop, frisk and use a chokehold on McClain.

In September, the state attorney general announced that a grand jury indicted three officers and two paramedics, stating that all five indicted were charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. Some face additional charges.

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