Officials in Aurora, Colo., finalized an agreement on Friday to pay $15 million to the family of Elijah McClain to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit over the police confrontation in 2019 that ended his life, according to city officials and the family’s lawyer. Mr. McClain, a 23-year-old Black man, died after the police in that city restrained him with a chokehold maneuver that has since been banned.
The agreement, reached in principle in July, is the largest police settlement in the city’s history and among the biggest to result from similar cases in the United States, according to Qusair Mohamedbhai, the McClain family’s lawyer.
Sheneen McClain, Elijah McClain’s mother, said in an interview on Saturday that she considers the settlement an important step in seeking justice for her son’s death but said that, “There’s nothing that can return to me what I lost.” She also said that the agreement comes with its own pain. “It’s still blood money, because that money has my son’s blood on it.”
There will be an allocation hearing to determine the distribution of the settlement between Ms. McClain and Mr. McClain’s biological father, LaWayne Mosley.
independent review. “I’m an introvert and I’m different,” he said during the confrontation, according to audio recordings from the stop. “I’m just different,” he added. “That’s all. That’s all I was doing. I’m so sorry.”
While being restrained, Mr. McClain told the officers he couldn’t breathe, and he vomited, according to the review. When paramedics arrived about 15 minutes later, they injected him with ketamine, a powerful sedative. Mr. McClain went into cardiac arrest on the way to a hospital and died a few days later.
indicted three police officers and two paramedics on charges including manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. No hearing dates have been set, according to Mr. Mohamedbhai.
“This tragedy has greatly changed and shaped Aurora,” said Jim Twombly, the Aurora city manager, in a statement Friday. “In the two years since he died, we have taken a hard look at our policies, our biases and our need to listen to our community.”
In 2020, Gov. Jared Polis signed a sweeping law enforcement reform bill that banned chokeholds and limited the use of deadly force. It also allows plaintiffs to bypass “qualified immunity,” a doctrine that can shield police misconduct from lawsuits seeking damages.
Earlier this year, Governor Polis signed a bill that restricts the ability of emergency medical workers to administer ketamine.