Aurora (CO) Agrees to Pay $15M to Settle Elijah McClain Lawsuit

In this Aug. 24, 2020, file photo, two people hold posters showing images depicting Elijah McClain during a candlelight vigil for McClain outside the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles.
FILE - In this Aug. 24, 2020, file photo, two people hold posters showing images depicting Elijah McClain during a candlelight vigil for McClain outside the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

By COLLEEN SLEVIN Associated Press

DENVER (AP) — The Denver suburb of Aurora has agreed to pay $15 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the parents of Elijah McClain, a Black man who died after suburban Denver police stopped him on the street and put him in a neckhold two years ago, a family attorney said Friday.

A judge accepted terms of the settlement Friday, said Qusair Mohamedbhai, an attorney for the mother, Sheneen McClain.

The lawsuit alleged that the police’s violent treatment of McClain, a 23-year-old massage therapist who played his violin for cats in a rescue shelter, amounted to torture and was part of a pattern of racially biased policing that has involved aggression and violence against Black people. Paramedics also injected him with a powerful sedative.

McClain’s 2019 death and his pleading words to police on body camera footage — “I’m an introvert, and I’m just different” — drew widespread attention after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis set off global protests last year.

The local prosecutor declined to file charges against the three officers who confronted him, partly because an autopsy could not determine exactly how McClain died. However, a grand jury indicted the officers and two paramedics in September following an investigation by Attorney General Phil Weiser ordered by Gov. Jared Polis.

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