The family of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old black man who died in 2019 after police in Aurora, Colo. That’s what lawyers for his parents said on Tuesday.
Ryan Luby, a spokesman for the City of Aurora, confirmed in a statement that the settlement was in principle reached over the summer to resolve a civil rights lawsuit filed by Mr. McClain’s family in 2020, following the “tragic death” from Mr McClain.
Mr Luby said the city leaders would sign it after the family members agreed on how the settlement money would be allocated. He said the parties could not disclose the amount of the settlement “until those issues are resolved and the agreement is in its final form.”
The settlement was discussed in US District Court for the District of Colorado earlier this month. A court file shows that Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter held a hearing on Oct. 8 to discuss the logistics of how the lawsuit would be resolved.
Mr McClain’s parents, Sheneen McClain and Lawayne Mosley, filed the lawsuit on August 11, 2020, seeking damages for the family. The city of Aurora, 12 police officers, two paramedics from the fire service and the department’s medical director were named as suspects.
Separately, a Grand Jury in Colorado last month charged three police officers and two paramedics with charges including manslaughter and culpable homicide.
The settlement brought some relief to Mr McClain’s relatives, family lawyers said.
Mari Newman, Mr Mosley’s attorney, said in a statement: “Nothing will bring back his son Elijah, whom he loved dearly, but he is hopeful that this settlement with Aurora, and the criminal charges against the officers and medics who kills Elijah, will allow his family and community to begin to heal.”
Iris Halpern, who represents Ms. McClain, said in a telephone interview Tuesday that Elijah’s mother “believes that at least justice was done” after the settlement, but that it was not as important to her as the criminal case.
“Elijah McClain is not with us and her family will have to live with that forever,” said Ms. Halpern.
She said in a statement that the court would determine how the funds between “Mrs. McClain, the parent who raised Elijah McClain alone, and Lawyne Mosley, the absent biological father.
As outrage over police brutality erupted across the country following George Floyd’s death last year, older cases of black people dying after encounters with police received renewed attention. Mr. McClain’s death was one of them.
On August 24, 2019, Mr McClain was walking home from a supermarket when someone called 911 saying he “looked fuzzy” and that he was wearing a ski mask and waving his arms.
After the police arrived, officers grabbed Mr McClain’s arms, pushed him against a wall and dragged him to the ground. They subdued him with a “carotid artery”, which restricts blood to the brain.
Mr McClain told officers he just walked home and asked them to let him go, according to an independent investigation.
“I’m introverted and I’m different,” Mr. McClain told police, according to audio recordings from the stop. “I’m just different. That’s all. That’s all I was doing. I’m very sorry.”
When emergency medical services arrived, they injected him with ketamine, a powerful sedative.
Mr McClain, unconscious, was taken to a hospital and has never recovered. He was taken off the ventilator and died on August 30. The Adams County coroner said the cause of death was “undetermined” and could have been a natural death, a carotid homicide, or an accident.
“In the space of 18 minutes, the defendants submitted to a procession of unnecessary and brutal techniques of violence and unnecessary, recklessly administered medication, the combined effects of which he could not survive,” according to the lawsuit filed by the family.