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Amended Autopsy Report: Elijah McClain Died from Sedative

    Amended Autopsy Report: Elijah McClain Died from Sedative
    Last updated: 2 months ago
    Image credit: nbc

    Facts

    • An amended autopsy report released Friday by a Denver District Court Chief Judge revealed that Elijah McClain – a Black man killed in police custody in Aurora, Colo. in 2019 – died of ketamine overdose administrated by paramedics while forcibly detained. [1]
    • The original autopsy report, which was written shortly after McClain’s death, didn't conclude how he died, or whether his death was natural, accidental, or a result of homicide. [2]
    • Based on that report, prosecutors didn’t pursue charges against the officers. However, last year, a state grand jury indicted three officers and two paramedics on reckless homicide and manslaughter charges. [2]
    • The coroner’s office later received body camera footage, witness accounts, and other records that were part of the grand jury investigation that came after the original autopsy. The updated report was made public following a lawsuit brought by Colorado Public Radio. [3]
    • McClain, who was unarmed, was stopped by police after a 911 call reported a “suspicious” man in the neighborhood - he was put in a neck hold and injected with ketamine. His case followed the high-profile killing of George Floyd in 2020. [4]
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    Spin

    Establishment-critical narrative

    The police shouldn’t be rewarded with more federal funding, which Congress plans to give them. Instead, there should be more sweeping overhauls - including passing the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act. Tragedies like this show both the failures of many police procedures and the extent that the current system enables them.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    The bills currently working their way through Congress seek to provide meaningful reform for police departments as an institution. It's more than just an increase in funding - this legislation would also help the police de-escalate confrontations with the public, and provide better training, body cameras, and access to mental health assistance. Substantial law enforcement reform can happen by working within the current system.

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