A black man dies after a police encounter in the U.S. state of Colorado in 2019 because he was injected with a powerful sedative after being raped, according to a revised autopsy report released on Friday.
Despite the discovery, the death of Elijah McClaina 23-year-old masseuse, still listed as unidentified, was not a homicide, the report showed.
McClain was held by the neck and injected with ketamine after being stopped police in Aurora, a suburb of Denver, for “suspicious”. He has no weapon.
The original autopsy report written shortly after his death in August 2019 did not draw conclusions as to how he died or the pattern of death, such as it was natural, randomness or a murder. That is the main reason why prosecutors initially decided not to pursue the charges.
But a state grand jury last year indicted three officers and two paramedics with manslaughter and reckless murder in McClain’s death after the case gained renewed attention after kill George Floyd in 2020.
It has become a cry in the gathering calculate across the United States about racism and police brutality.
The five defendants have yet to issue a plea and their attorneys have not commented publicly on the allegations.
In the updated report, Dr. Stephen Cina concluded that the dose of ketamine given to McClain, was higher than recommended for a person his size, “was too much for this individual and it resulted in an overdose”.
“I believe Mr McClain will most likely be alive but due to the use of ketamine,” said Cina, who also noted that body footage shows McClain becoming “extremely sedated” within a few days, Cina said. minutes after the medication was given.
The findings of the revised autopsy report, which was updated in July 2021 but made public until Friday, echo opinions in the grand jury indictment that came about two months ago. later from an unidentified pathologist.
The pathologist concluded that McClain died of complications from ketamine injections while being brutally subdued and restrained by executive and emergency responders. It is unclear if that pathologist was Dr. Cina.
Cina’s updated report said there was no evidence that injuries sustained by police caused his death.
According to the indictment, Peter Cichuniec, who was overseeing the ambulance crew, ordered ketamine from the ambulance and Jeremy Cooper injected it into McClain. Cooper’s attorney, Mike Pellow, did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment. A message left for Cichuniec’s attorneys, David Goddard and Michael Lowe, was not immediately returned.
Cina admits that other reasonable pathologists with varying experience and training may have considered such a death, in police custody, a homicide or an accident, but he believes that suitable classification has not been determined.
Qusair Mohamedbhai, an attorney for McClain’s mother, Sheneen McClain, declined a request for comment.
The updated autopsy was released Friday by court order in a lawsuit brought by Colorado Public Radio, which involved other media organizations including the Associated Press. Colorado Public Radio sued the investigator who released the report after learning that the report had been updated, arguing that it should be made available under the state’s public records law.
Coroner Monica Broncucia-Jordan said she could not release it because it contained confidential grand jury information and that disclosing it would violate an oath she did not share when she obtained it last year.
But Adams County Judge Kyle Seedorf asked the coroner to release the updated report on Friday, and the Denver judge who oversaw the state grand jury proceedings, Christopher Baumann, did ruled on Thursday that the grand jury information had not been redacted.
McClain’s death promote new surveillance about ketamine use and led the Colorado Department of Health to issue a new rule restricting when emergency personnel can use it.
Last year, the city of Aurora agreed to pay $15 million to settle a lawsuit filed by McClain’s parents.
The lawsuit alleges that the force officers used against McClain and his struggle to survive significantly increased the amount of lactic acid in his body, leading to his death, possibly along with his death. with the large dose of ketamine he was given.
An outside investigation commissioned by the city blamed police investigating McClain’s arrest for not pressing for answers about how officers treated him. There is no evidence to support the officers’ decision to stop McClain, who was reported as suspicious because he wore a ski mask as he walked down the street waving. He has not been charged with breaking any laws.