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‘Everything Good About Elijah Is What His Legacy Is Going To Be’: A Conversation with Sheneen McClain

On the night of Aug. 24, 2019, Elijah McClain, a young Black man, was stopped by police while walking home from a convenience store in Aurora.

McClain was not suspected of any crime, but during the encounter, police restrained him with carotid holds, handcuffs and other pain compliance tactics. When paramedics arrived, they injected him with ketamine, a powerful sedative, that caused him to lose consciousness. He never woke up — and died a few days later after being taken off life support.

His story has become part of a national narrative about the dysfunctional relationship between police departments and the communities they are supposed to serve.

On Monday, the city of Aurora released the results of a months-long independent investigation into Elijah McClain’s death. That report found police officers and paramedics acted inappropriately at almost every point of the incident, from the decision to stop him on the street in the first place to how the Major Crime investigation was conducted within the Aurora Police Department.

The report’s findings validate what Elijah McClain’s mother, Sheneen McClain, has been saying publicly and privately about his death for nearly a year and a half. Ms. McClain joined Colorado Edition to talk about her son, the independent investigation, healing and justice.

Listen to the interview and read the transcript in its entirety at