AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — The autopsy report for Elijah McClain, the man who died after being confronted by Aurora police officers and paramedics in 2019 has been amended.
The Adams County Coroner’s Office released the amended autopsy report on Friday to explain that McClain’s death resulted from complications of ketamine administration following forcible restraint.
With the amended autopsy release, community members and activists are weighing in and responding, sharing with FOX31 that McClain should still be alive and this deepens the lack of trust in the police department and justice system.
During an interview with Alvertis Simmons on Friday, the civil rights activist led with a simple question, “When will this end?” It is a question that nobody has the right answer to and one that many find themselves asking, especially after McClain’s death. Simmons made clear that the division remains, and the gap needs to be bridged.
“He was murdered,” Simmons said. “I think that a 23-year-old Black man by the name of Elijah McClain should be alive today.”
Tragically he’s not. McClain died after being administered ketamine while in police custody in 2019. The ruling was determined by an amended autopsy released on Friday. A high dosage, meant for a 220-pound man, was forcibly injected into McClain’s bloodstream, who weighed 140 pounds.
“It’s going to keep happening because it’s culturally based,” Simmons said. “At what point is it going to stop.”
Simmons has led and been involved in several marches and protests over the last three years seeking justice for McClain and other Black men and women in Aurora.
“That is what’s happening in Aurora and we’re sick and tired of it as a community, we’re tired of it,” said Simmons.
He also shared that relations between Aurora Police and the community were already strained, but McClain’s death shattered trust and transparency.
“There ain’t no trust,” Simmons said. “The trust is so broken. It hasn’t gotten any better and this report really puts a dagger in that trust.”
The report seemingly places responsibility on the paramedics involved and shifts it away from officers, stating McClain did not pass from the carotid hold. However, Simmons says all five are culpable.
“They ought to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. At some point Aurora has to get it,” Simmons said. “If it wasn’t for police making contact, the paramedics would’ve never shot him up with ketamine.”
The amended autopsy took over two years to complete and release and not without pressure from FOX31 and other media outlets that sued for its release.
Although the cause of death was amended, the manner of McClain’s death still remains “undetermined.”
Simmons told FOX31 that right now it’s about moving forward and mending the relationship between officers and the community, so there isn’t another McClain-like incident. He added that it’s going to take training, respect and law enforcement showing love to everyone in the community they serve.