Report: Settlement in Elijah McClain Suit Is Aurora PD's Biggest Ever

Insiders say Colo. city will pay $15M to family of Black man who died after he was restrained
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2021 9:50 AM CST
Report: City Will Pay $15M in Elijah McClain Settlement
In this June 27, 2020, photo, Sheneen McClain speaks during a rally and march over the death of her son, Elijah McClain, outside the police department in Aurora, Colo.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

A settlement between the city of Aurora, Colo., and the family of Elijah McClain is one of the biggest of its kind on record, insiders say. Sources tell CBS Denver that the city has agreed to pay $15 million to the family of the 23-year-old Black man, who died in 2019, days after police put him in a chokehold and paramedics injected him with an excessive dose of ketamine. Lawyers for McClain's mother, Sheneen McClain, announced last month that a settlement had been reached in the federal civil-rights lawsuit she filed last year, though financial details weren't released at the time.

The settlement is less than the $27 million Minneapolis paid to George Floyd's family, but it's the largest in the Aurora Police Department's history by a long way, per CBS Denver. Sources tell the station that $5 million not covered by insurance will probably come from the city's general fund, which is in good shape thanks to sales tax revenue up more than $24 million from last year.

Three police officers and two paramedics have been indicted in the death of McClain, a massage therapist described by friends and relatives as a gentle "angel among humans." Officers confronted McClain on his way home from a convenience store after somebody called police and said he looked "sketchy." An independent report found that the stop and subsequent use of force were unjustified.

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The Colorado Attorney General's Office announced Tuesday that the leaders of the city's police and fire departments had agreed to make major changes to numerous policies and practices, including on the use of force and the use of sedatives, the Denver Post reports. "The city shall change, in measurable ways, how Aurora Police engages with all members of the community, including by reducing any racial disparities in how Aurora Police engages, arrests, and uses force in the community," a consent decree released by the AG's office states. (More Elijah McClain stories.)

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