Social media is stirring with an outcry over the killing of 23-year-old Elijah McClain last August, as calls for police reform in general continue. McClain was arrested in Aurora, Colorado having committed no crime whatsoever. He died in the hospital a few days later.
McClain was walking home from a convenience store in Aurora on Aug. 24, 2019, according to a report by The Cut. He was confronted by police, who later explained that they were responding to a 911 call about a "suspicious person" wearing a ski mask in the neighborhood. In an exchange that lasted about 15 minutes, McClain was tackled, pushed to the ground, put into a carotid hold and injected with ketamine — a powerful tranquilizer used on horses. McClain suffered a heart attack on the way to the hospital and was declared brain dead before passing away.
On August 24th of last year, 23 y/o Elijah McClain, a massage therapist who loved animals & often played violin for stray cats at Petco, was detained on his way home from picking up an iced tea for his brother in Aurora, Colorado.
He was listening to music & dancing. pic.twitter.com/MWNycEpnqW— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) June 24, 2020
In the time since then, the officers who killed McClain — Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt and Randy Roedema — have been cleared of any wrongdoing, despite the persistent outcry of his family. Many important factors of the case have been called into question, from the body camera footage to the inconclusive autopsy. with protests against systemic racism and police violence at what is perhaps an all-time high for the United States, many activists are now demanding justice for McClain's family.
Among the many strange factors in this case, McClain's family takes issue with the idea that he "struggled" against police. These claims are nearly impossible to verify since all three of their body cameras allegedly fell off during the arrest. However, the audio included features McClain explaining himself, apologizing frequently, complying with their orders and begging for breath. It also features the officers repeatedly threatening McClain in a variety of ways.
Even that incomplete record from the cameras was not released for months. In the meantime, McClain's family was left to wonder why he was restrained so aggressively, causing him to vomit and lose consciousness as he ran out of breath. They also questioned why paramedics treated McClain with ketamine, a drug used to sedate animals and also used as an illegal party drug by some.
With all these mysteries still unanswered, McClain's case is back in the headlines. Social media users are badgering Aurora officials for answers, and a Change.org petition demanding justice has reached over 2 million signatures. Here is a look at the public outcry for Elijah McClain.
Elijah McClain was a beautiful, gentle, introverted soul who played violin for stray cats. He was unarmed when cops attacked him for no good reason and MURDERED HIM OVER A YEAR AGO. He deserves justice.June 24, 2020
Honestly I haven’t been feeling the best for a very long time now. Everyday it’s something else more negative. This hit really really really close to home and if any of you know me. You will def understand. We lost a cat hero. I literally see myself here. R.I.P ❤️#ElijahMcClain pic.twitter.com/6RKnCuQaTV— iAmMoshow - The Cat Rapper ™ (@iammoshow) June 24, 2020
This is #ElijahMcClain.
Read and share this article about what happened to Elijah at the hands of police in Aurora, Colorado: https://t.co/mF2Bp15Lm4. Sign the petition.
Listen: I know we’re traumatized. 400+ years of trauma. Take care. And let’s continue to do justice. pic.twitter.com/6fAD99aPTu— Be A King (@BerniceKing) June 24, 2020
Calls to Action
Elijah McClain played violin for kittens, he was a caring and beautiful person. It’s so disgusting how this is happening. PLEASE LOOK AT THE WAYS U CAN HELP— ADZMDRIVER TWT JAIL (@natportmanz) June 24, 2020
If this doesnt make you absolutely sick to your stomach to read through, you are the problem. Even in his last breaths #ElijahMcClain was calling his murderers beautiful. My mind cannot grasp how these officers can lack so much empathy and be so evil to such an innocent young man pic.twitter.com/5lLaQnKC7z— MEDUSO (@Meduso_bass) June 24, 2020