Nearly one year later, Elijah McClain’s story has not only begun circulating social media, but gathered enough attention to get the investigation formerly reopened and reviewed. In fact, the FBI and US Justice Department recently made a statement in which they claimed that they’ve been reviewing the circumstances surrounding McClain’s death since 2019.
The review so far has mainly focused on determining whether or not a federal civil rights investigation is warranted based on the initial evidence. The statement claimed that the matter was “ongoing” as they’re in the process of gathering additional pieces of information such as testimonials and other evidence that could be useful. According to the FBI, the Aurora Police Department and other parties working within the city have been cooperating through it all.
McClain’s family reacted to the news recently with their own statement in which they expressed their shock, but relief, that the investigation will continue to be reviewed.
“I am both surprised and pleased to hear that a civil rights investigation is being considered. The Aurora Police Department has a long and sordid history of both brutality and racism, and a comprehensive civil rights investigation is long overdue.”
Mari Newman went on to invite the federal agencies to reach out to the family whenever needed, as they will “happily provide information to assist in this critically important investigation.”
McClain’s death is a story that’s become all too familiar in America, and is the reason we’re currently seeing a nationwide demand for social justice and racial equality for black individuals. McClain was 23-years-old when he was walking home from the store late at night. McClain had anemia, which caused his body to become cold very easily, so he walked home in full sweats and a ski mask to remain warm. Someone noticed McClain and reported a “suspicious looking man” to the police.
McClain was then stopped by three white police officers and when he resisted initial contact with one officer, an aggressive struggle was brought on by the police and they put him in a carotid hold; more commonly referred to as a choke-hold. They held him in the choke-hold for 15 minutes while he pleaded that he “couldn’t breathe,” vomited, and briefly lost consciousness. When paramedics arrived at the scene they injected him with a dose of ketamine to sedate him. McClain then suffered a heart attack on the way to the hospital, and was declared brain dead three years later.
As of right now all three officers involved still have their jobs but have been reassigned to “non-enforcement duties.” The main reasoning for this reassignment was to keep the “officers safety as priority,” sparking massive new waves of anger and protests. More than 2 million people have now signed a petition demanding that justice be served for these men who murdered 23-year-old McClain.
As the investigation got brought into the mainstream, multiple Aurora officers have been placed on administrative leave after new images surfaced of them near the scene where McClain was murdered. The investigation into all parties involved is still pending according to the Aurora police chief.
“This investigation will be publicly released in its entirety promptly upon its conclusion. This will include reports, photographic evidence obtained, officer’s names, and my final determination which can rise to the level of termination.”
The FBI and Justice Department said that they’re aware of all media reports surrounding the case and photographs that have already been made public before the investigation could conclude, however, they claim to not have any further comments until that conclusion is actually met.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.