Elijah McClain’s family to get $15M settlement from Aurora

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Elijah McClain's family to get $15M settlement from Aurora

A Colorado city agreed to fork over $15 million to settle a lawsuit from the family of a black man who died after a clash with cops in 2019, according to officials and a report.

Elijah McClain, 23, was unarmed and walking home when city of Aurora police approached him on Aug. 24, 2019 in a stop that escalated to McClain being put in a chokehold and injected with ketamine.

“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,” Aurora spokesman Ryan Luby said in a statement provided to The Post.

“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 added. “Until those issues are resolved and the agreement is in its final form, the parties cannot disclose the settlement terms.”

People gather at a candlelight vigil to demand justice for Elijah McClain.
The 23-year-old died in police custody after being placed in a chokehold and injected with ketamine.
Getty Images / Rich Fury
People gather at a candlelight vigil to demand justice for Elijah McClain on the one year anniversary of his death on August 24.
People gather at a candlelight vigil to demand justice for Elijah McClain on the one year anniversary of his death on August 24.
Getty Images / Rich Fury

Family representatives also wouldn’t discuss the settlement terms, but CBS4, which first reported the settlement, confirmed the amount, citing three anonymous sources with knowledge of the agreement.

The settlement amount would be the largest in a police case in the city’s history, far surpassing a $2.6 million payout in 2015, CBS4 reported. Since 2010, the city has paid out $7.3 million in settlements, the station said, citing city documents.

Attorneys for Sheneen McClain, Elijah’s mother, thanked the community for its “support, love and commitment” to ensuring reform in the wake of the death.

“Ms. McClain raised Elijah as a single mother and his death has left an enormous void in her life,” attorneys Qusair Mohamedbhai and Siddhartha Rathod said in a statement to The Post. “ While nothing will fill that void, Ms. McClain is hopeful that badly needed reforms to the Aurora Police Department will spare other parents the same heartache.”

FILE - In this June 27, 2020, file photo, Sheneen McClain speaks during a rally and march over the death of her son, Elijah McClain.
Sheneen McClain speaks during a rally and march over the death of her son, Elijah McClain in June 2020; The McClain family will now receive $15M in the wrongful death of Elijah McClain.
AP / David Zalubowski

The attorneys didn’t discuss the settlement itself in the statement. Mari Newman, an attorney for Elijah’s father, Lawayne Mosley, told The Post she wasn’t able to discuss terms of the settlement, which was reached in July.

McClain, a massage therapist, was coming home from a convenience store when he was stopped by police after someone reported as suspicious. A 911 caller reported a man wearing a ski mask, but McClain’s family later said he wore the mask because he had anemia and got cold easily.

Body cam footage of the confrontation showed the man telling police “I can’t breathe.”

Sign outside of the Laugh Factory that says "R.I.P. Elijah McClain" during candlelight vigil.
Paramedics injected McClain with 500 mg of ketamine to subdue him – more than 1.5 times the dose for his weight.
AP / Jae C. Hong

Paramedics injected McClain with 500 mg of ketamine to subdue him – more than 1.5 times the dose for his weight. He went into cardiac arrest and was declared brain dead, dying days later when he was pulled off life support.

His death received national attention amid widespread anti-racism and anti-police brutality protests. Locally, it sparked reforms in the Aurora police department such as new use-of-force policies and training measures.

Three cops and two paramedics were slapped with charges related to McClain’s death in September.

Police officers Randy Roedema, Nathan Woodyard and Jason Rosenblatt and paramedics Jeremy Cooper were hit with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges.

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