Elijah McClain died from excessive ketamine injected by paramedics, new autopsy report reveals

Elijah McClain died from excessive ketamine injected by paramedics, new autopsy report reveals
According to the initial autopsy report, Elijah McClain's cause of death was 'undetermined' (Family handout)

This article contains distressing information that could be traumatic to some. Readers' discretion is advised.

BOULDER, COLORADO: A new autopsy report reveals that a paramedic administered an excessive amount of the sedative ketamine to a 23-year-old black man who died following a run-in with Colorado police. Elijah McClain was walking home from a convenience store on August 24, 2019, in Aurora, Colorado, when someone called 911, saying he “looked sketchy” and was wearing a ski mask and waving his arms. Cops arrived on the scene, and after struggling to handcuff McClain, brought him to the ground and used a carotid hold, which restricts blood to the brain to render someone unconscious. 

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After officers restrained the 23-year-old on the ground, he vomited several times, for which he apologized, saying, "I’m sorry, I wasn’t trying to do that, I can’t breathe correctly." After about 15 minutes, paramedics arrived and injected him with ketamine, a powerful sedative. McClain, who was a massage therapist, had a cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital. He died on August 30, 2020. As per New York Post, McClain's initial autopsy by forensic pathologist Dr Stephen Cina revealed that his cause of death was "undetermined." 

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He claimed to have "insufficient information" during his 2019 autopsy. "I believe that Mr. McClain would most likely be alive but for the administration of ketamine," Cina wrote in the new report released on Friday, September 23. The ketamine dosage was allegedly too high for McClain's weight, according to the report. He experienced a cardiac arrest and died at a hospital days later. 

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Peter Cichuniec and Jeremy Cooper were the two paramedics indicted for McClain’s death.
Glendale Police Department via AP, File
Peter Cichuniec (L) and Jeremy Cooper (R) were the two paramedics indicted for McClain’s death (Glendale Police Department via AP)

In 2021, three police officers and two paramedics faced criminal charges in connection to McClain's death. Last year, the lawsuit brought by McClain's family was settled for $15 million.

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Meanwhile, the 2020 Change.org petition demanding justice for McClain has received over 5.5 million signatures so far. In June 2020, #ElijahMcClainWasMurdered trended on Twitter after the bodycam footage showing three cops attacking McClain started circulating on the Internet. In the video, McClain is heard saying, "I can’t breathe. I have my ID right here. My name is Elijah McClain. That’s my house. I was just going home. I’m an introvert. I’m just different. That’s all. I’m so sorry. I have no gun. I don’t do that stuff. I don’t do any fighting. Why are you attacking me? I don’t even kill flies. I don’t eat meat. I’m a vegetarian. I don’t judge people for anything."

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