Amended autopsy reports state Elijah McClain’s cause of death was an overdose shot administered by paramedics “after forcible restraint.”

After three years, the autopsy report has been updated on a young man who died walking home after being arrested by police officers from a Denver suburb. The addendum to the coroner’s report now states that a dose of ketamine administered by paramedics was responsible for the 23-year-old’s death.

On Friday, September 23, Adams County Chief Coroner Monica Broncucia-Jordon announced that the autopsy report for Elijah McClain had been amended to reflect the cause of death, which was attributed to “complications of ketamine administration following forcible restraint,” reports CNN.

Previously, the document listed the cause of death as “undetermined” for the unarmed black man who died in police custody three years ago.

Paramedics responding to Aurora, Colo. officers placing McClain in a carotid artery after wrestling him to the ground injected him with the powerful sedative, causing him to go into cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital, where he died days later.

The new report confirms that the dose given to the massage therapist and self-taught musician was too much for his 5-foot-7, 140-pound frame. He was given 500mg of ketamine – a dose that would have been too high for a 200lb person.

Curiously, the amended autopsy report was signed a year ago, on July 17, 2021, and may have served as evidence to indict three police officers and two paramedics on manslaughter, manslaughter and other charges related to the case, and as corroboration for the 15 million dollar settlement that the city presented to the young man’s surviving family, stopping their civil rights lawsuit.

The settlement also included a promise for the Aurora Police Department and the Aurora Fire Department to agree to a consent decree leading authorities to do something about the pattern of racial prejudice that exists in the service units, as found by the state inquiry.

dr Stephen Cina, who was assisted in preparing the report by Broncucia-Jordan, wrote that the coroner’s office received additional information about that tragic night that was unavailable in 2019 when the original report was finalized. The bureau reviewed body camera footage, witness statements and additional recordings from that August night, a discovery made public through the grand jury investigation.

Cina explained, “Put simply, that dose of ketamine was too much for this individual and resulted in an overdose, even though the blood ketamine levels were at ‘therapeutic’ concentrations.”

“I believe that without the administration of ketamine, Mr. McClain would most likely be alive,” the pathologist added.

He also added that after reviewing the body camera footage, the African American man was “alive and responding to painful stimuli” until receiving the ketamine shot. Then, within minutes of the injection, he was “extremely sedated,” and he believes he had trouble breathing even as he was placed on the gurney by paramedics – noting that under those conditions respiratory arrest “was imminent.” “.

“In my opinion, if he hadn’t had that injection, he probably would have recovered,” he said.

Despite the new information, he still believes the manner of death is “undetermined”, stating: “I recognize that other reasonable forensic pathologists trained elsewhere may have their philosophy regarding deaths in custody and that they can consider the manner of death Death in that type of case either KILL or ACCIDENTS.”

The doctor particularly struggled to determine how much, if anything, the carotid officers who overpowered him while in custody contributed to McClain’s death.

“I have seen no evidence that police-inflicted injuries contributed to the death,” he wrote.

The amended autopsy report was released after the coroner’s office successfully petitioned a Denver District Court judge to release it.

The Washington Post received an email from an Aurora Police representative who said the force “fully cooperated with the investigation” but received no timely response from the Emergency Services Department.

On August 24, 2019, McClain was stopped and arrested on his way home from the store by officers Nathan Woodyard, Randy Roedema and Jason Rosenblatt. Police responded to an 911 call complaining about a suspicious man wearing a ski mask walking through the neighborhood.

McClain, who wore the ski mask to keep warm and counteract his anemia, was pulled over by police, who believed him to be the person in question. They handcuffed him, but he fought back, claiming he wasn’t the person they were looking for. In an attempt to restrain him, officers put him in a choke hold, ignoring his screams and insisting he had done nothing wrong.

Captured by officers’ bodycams, the violinist said during the altercation: “I was just about to go home. I’m just different, I’m just different, that’s all, that’s all I’ve done. I am sorry.”

Paramedics Peter Cichuniec and Jeremy Cooper were called to the scene and officers told them he was suffering from “excited delirium.” The two responded by injecting him with the drug, causing cardiac arrest. He was pronounced brain dead later that day and died three days later after being taken off life support.

While this happened before the summer of 2020 riots, when months of demonstrations protested the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and others who died as a result of police violence or systemic racial prejudice, McClain’s death was added to the black list recorded Live’s Matter Battle Cry.

Many allege he was racially profiled by officers and that the “excited delirium” state is actually “an alleged state of hyperarousal often used by police to describe Black suspects during police interactions,” reports

One of the reform changes recommended by the Colorado Department of Health is to change how paramedics use ketamine, establish a dosing standard based on patient body weight, when it should and should not be used, and ensure that emergency responders monitor the heart and respiratory system Activity after administration of the strong drug.

On Monday, July 18, Judge Priscilla Loew of the 17th Circuit ruled that Woodyard, Roedema, Rosenblatt, Cichuniec and Cooper should be tried on a total of 32 counts of their involvement in McClain’s death. Amended autopsy reports state Elijah McClain’s cause of death was an overdose shot administered by paramedics “after forcible restraint.”

James Brien

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