State Watch

Elijah McClain’s family settles lawsuit with city of Aurora

The family of Elijah McClain, the Black man who died in 2019 after an encounter with police officers in Aurora, Colo., has settled a lawsuit with the city.

Ryan Luby, a spokesman for the city of Aurora, confirmed the unspecified settlement on Tuesday in an email to The Hill. 

“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,” Luby’s statement said. “Until those issues are resolved and the agreement is in its final form, the parties cannot disclose the settlement terms.”

Luby added that no monetary amount was discussed at a recent telephonic court hearing regarding the case.

McClain’s parents, Sheneen McClain and Lawayne Mosley, filed a lawsuit on Aug. 11, 2020. The defendants named in their case included the city of Aurora, 12 police officers, two Fire Department paramedics and the department’s medical director.

The settlement was discussed earlier this month in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. On Oct. 8, Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter held a hearing to discuss how the lawsuit would be resolved, The New York Times reported.

“No amount of money can ever compensate Ms. McClain for the devastating loss of her son, who she raised as a single mother. Ms. McClain would give anything for Elijah to experience the full, long life that he so richly deserved,” Matthew Cron, an attorney for the McClain family, told The Hill.

Iris Halpern, another attorney representing McClain’s mother, added that the court would need to decide how to distribute funds between “Ms. McClain, the parent who raised Elijah McClain by herself, and Lawayne Mosley, the absent biological father,” the Times reported.

“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,” Mari Newman, an attorney representing McClain’s father, said in a statement to The Hill.

McClain, who was 23 and walking home from a convenience store at the time, died after he was restrained by a police officer who used a now-banned chokehold maneuver. He was also handcuffed and injected with a high dose of ketamine before his death.

“I’m an introvert and I’m different,” McClain said to the police officers at the time, the Times reported. “I’m just different. That’s all. That’s all I was doing. I’m so sorry.”

McClain died at a hospital days later, after being removed from life support. 

As police brutality garnered increasing attention following George Floyd’s murder and last summer’s racial reckoning, McClain’s death received more public attention.

Last month, a grand jury indicted three police officers and two paramedics involved in the death on charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. 

Colorado attorney general also released a 118-page report last month that showed the Aurora Police Department had a pattern of “racially biased policing.”

The Hill has reached out to the Aurora Police Department for more information. 

Updated at 6:23 p.m.

Tags Aurora Colorado Death of Elijah McClain deaths in police custody Elijah McClain police killings policy brutality

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