DA Dave Young defends decision not to file charges in Elijah McClain case

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AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — Seventeenth Judicial District Attorney Dave Young is defending his decision not to file charges against the officers involved in the Elijah McClain case.

Young spoke in national interview with CNN after Gov. Jared Polis appointed Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser as special prosecutor to investigate McClain’s death.

“I’m not here to condone their actions. In fact, I disagree with what they did on the night of Aug. 24, 2019,” said Young, referring to the officers involved in the incident.

McClain, who was Black, died after an altercation with Aurora police officers. He was walking home from a convenience store when three white officers approached him. A 911 caller reported seeing a suspicious person wearing a mask. McClain was not committing a crime and did not have a weapon.

Police eventually placed McClain in a carotid hold and paramedics administered ketamine to sedate him after the initial altercation.

The coroner said he could not rule out multiple possibilities, including the officers’ actions as contributors to McClain’s death. 

“I have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the action of those officers killed Elijah McClain,” said Young, “in my business, I can’t take that case to court if we don’t know those answers. It’s as simple as that.”

Despite defending his decision, Young says he does not approve of the officers’ actions that night.

“I wish they sat in their car and watched him walk home. Elijah McClain would be alive right now.”

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