After 23-year-old Elijah McClain was attacked by Aurora police officers for looking “sketchy,” he pleaded with officers that he couldn’t breathe, according to the wrongful death lawsuit that was filed on his behalf. During the encounter, McClain also told officers that he had ID on him and expressed that he was “different.” In his final words, McClain asked police why they attacked him and said that he “respected all life.”

Despite McClain’s pleas for officers to stop attacking him, Aurora police placed him in two consecutive carotid holds that “compressed his neck and the blood flow to his brain,” “[cranked] his left shoulder with an armbar hammerlock that caused it to repeatedly pop,” and crushed him [with their body weight] while his hands were cuffed behind his back. It wasn’t long after officers tackled McClain that he began to vomit. Even after the 23-year-old showed signs of distress, officers allegedly continued to inflict pain upon the young man.

The lawsuit goes on to say that as McClain “lay in his own vomit on the ground under the hundreds of pounds of combined weight of Aurora Police Department officers, Aurora Fire Rescue paramedics involuntarily injected him with a massive dose of ketamine.” While ketamine has been known to help ease pain at lower doses, it also considered a date rape drug when abused. WebMD says that “when misused, ketamine can change your sense of sight and sound. You can have hallucinations and feel out of touch with your surroundings—and even from yourself.” Ketamine can also make it difficult for a person to speak or move.

Although ketamine is now being considered “one of the biggest breakthroughs in treating severe depression,” high doses can have adverse effects on the person it is being administered to. According to the wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of McClain’s family, Elijah was injected with a “massive dose of ketamine” although the 23-year-old “did not appear to be experiencing any medical condition that would be treated with ketamine.” The lawsuit adds, “even if the use of ketamine had been medically indicated (it was not), the Aurora Fire Rescue Paramedics injected Elijah with a dose well beyond what a man [of] Elijah’s size should [have] received.”

A few minutes after McClain was injected with ketamine, “paramedics noticed [he] was not breathing and had no pulse.” The lawsuit states that Elijah never regained consciousness and died a few days later. Because Elijah’s family believes multiple parties were responsible for his death, they had a valid reason for filing a wrongful death lawsuit on his behalf.


If your loved one was killed by a law enforcement officer in or nearby Aurora, Colorado and you would like to find out if you have a viable case against the officer and/or the department, contact Bryan & Terrill Law, PLLC to speak with a Colorado police misconduct lawyer. Bringing a claim against a law enforcement officer or police department isn’t easy and should only be done when represented by the best police brutality attorneys in Colorado.


Bryan & Terrill Law, PLLC can be reached at:


333 W. Hampden Avenue, #420B

Englewood, CO 80110

Phone: 720-923-2333