(CNN) Sheneen McClain cried reading an independent investigative report Monday that said Colorado police officers involved her son’s death did not have the legal basis to stop, frisk or restrain Elijah McClain.
“It was overwhelming knowing my son was innocent the entire time and just waiting on the facts and proof of it,” Sheneen McClain told CNN. “My son’s name is cleared now. He’s no longer labeled a suspect. He is actually a victim.”
Elijah McClain died in August 2019, three days after he was stopped by Aurora police, put in a carotid hold, and injected with ketamine. No charges were brought against the officers because, District Attorney Dave Young wrote in a June 2020 letter, prosecutors lacked evidence to prove the officers caused McClain’s death or that their force was unjustified.
Sheneen McClain admitted through tears that she has watched the body camera footage of her son’s death over and over because she never got to say goodbye.
“I looked at everything that happened to him because it’s my responsibility,” she said. “Even in death, he’s still my son. His name, his legacy. All that matters.” On the whole, the 157-page report released Monday provides a critical view of police and fire rescue teams in the Denver suburb.
It questions the officers’ statements about McClain’s “superior strength,” criticizes emergency medical responders’ decision to inject him with the sedative, and admonishes the police department for failing to seriously question the officers afterward.
“At the time of the (ketamine) injection, Mr. McClain had not moved or made any sounds for about one minute,” the report states. “In addition, EMS administered a ketamine dosage based on a grossly inaccurate and inflated estimate of Mr. McClain’s size.”