More than 2 million people have signed an online petition demanding a fresh look into the death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain, a young Black man who spent nearly four days in a coma last summer following an encounter with police in Aurora, Colorado.
The petition calls on Adams County District Attorney Dave Young as well as Aurora’s mayor, Mike Coffman, and the Aurora Police Department to “bring justice for Elijah” through “a more in-depth” investigation into what happened on August 24, 2019, when McClain was confronted by two officers as he walked home.
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In addition, the petition demands the immediate removal of the two officers, who remain on the force nearly a year later.
McClain was removed from life support on August 30, 2019.
For days before, he was treated for injuries he’d sustained when officers allegedly placed him in a chokehold and pinned him to the ground for 15 minutes.
At the time of the police encounter, McClain was returning from the store, where he’d purchased four cans of iced tea.
When police approached him, McClain was wearing a ski mask — something the anemic man did often, as his chronic condition usually made his face feel colder when he went on walks.
According to authorities, a struggle ensued as the officers tried to detain McClain.
While pinned to the ground, McClain allegedly started vomiting and told the officers he was having difficulty breathing.
Police brass defended the officers’ actions because McClain was wearing a ski mask.
Paramedics were summoned to the scene, and, claiming McClain was in an agitated state, they injected him with ketamine, a sedative.
McClain suffered a heart attack and fell into a coma.
Earlier this month, Aurora authorities announced a ban on the use of chokeholds by its officers.
Police in Aurora have claimed only Young can sanction a new investigation into the case.
Young decided against charging the two officers in November, according to Colorado Politics, determining there was insufficient evidence to provide the force used by police was excessive.
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The site reports Young is well aware of the petition.
“I don’t open up investigations based on petitions,” Young told Colorado Politics. “Obviously, if there is new evidence to look at, I will look at the evidence in any case. But no, I’m not going to open up an investigation because people are signing a petition.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help McClain’s relatives.