AURORA, Colo. -- The family members of a man who died after a rough interaction with first responders say they are demanding more transparency after seeing the body camera footage from the altercation.
Mari Newman, an attorney for Elijah McClain’s family, said she and the family had an opportunity to view the footage and listen to the 911 recording from the night Aurora Police confronted McClain.
“It is no exaggeration to say that Aurora Police tortured Elijah. The video shows that the police were nothing short of sadistic, brutalizing and terrorizing a gentle, peaceful man as he lay there begging. It is disgusting,” Newman said in a press release.
Newman told the FOX31 Problem Solvers that three of the body cameras fell off the officers’ bodies during the altercation, but she could still hear McClain begging to be let go. She said she heard him say he is so peaceful he wouldn’t even kill a fly.
Newman called the interaction with police violent and aggressive.
“We fully understand the need for transparency throughout this entire investigation and we can appreciate the seriousness of this matter,” wrote Officer Matthew Longshore, a public information officer for the Aurora Police Department, in a joint police press release with Aurora Fire Rescue.
Police approached McClain on August 24, 2019, after someone reported a suspicious man running in the area, wearing a ski mask. They said a “struggle ensued,” and they later called emergency medical responders to transport McClain to the hospital. They injected him with a sedative to reduce his agitation.
McClain went into cardiac arrest in the ambulance and later died.
According to Newman, she heard someone on the recordings request Ketamine, a sedative used to for patients who exhibit excited delirium, to be administered.
In Colorado, medical crews must obtain a special waiver from the state health department to use it in the field.
No one would confirm that was the drug that McClain received.
However, the FOX31 Problem Solvers learned the Aurora Fire Department started using the medication in January 2019. Since that time, they’ve administered the drug seven times, including once on August 24, 2019, the night McClain struggled with police.
The police department cautioned that the coroner’s report has yet to be completed.
“From the beginning, Chief Metz ordered an investigation at the level consistent with officer-involved shootings pursuant to Senate Bill 15-219 by having a multi-agency team comprised of members from the Denver Police Department, Aurora Police Department and the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. That investigation continues,” said Longshore.
All of the officers who were on paid administrative leave after the altercation have returned to work except one who is recovering from an unrelated injury.
-- Lori Jane Gliha wrote this report