All police officers and paramedics involved in 23-year-old Elijah McClain's death are facing murder charges, according to a Wednesday Vice report.
What's a brief history here?
McClain, of Aurora, Colorado, died in 2019 after police approached the 23-year-old as he was walking while wearing a ski mask.
The young man was on his way home from a convenience store and, according to family, often wore the mask in public places because he was excessively cold due to anemia.
During the stop, Officer Nathan Woodyard attempted to question McClain, who reportedly appeared to ignore the officer's requests and continued walking along.
McClain's family previously stated that the 23-year-old was wearing earbuds or headphones at the time and could not hear the officer.
A partial police report stated, "As Woodyard approached Mr. McClain on foot, again telling him to stop, Mr. McClain said, 'I have a right to go where I am going.' Officer Woodyard responded, 'I have a right to stop you because you're being suspicious.'"
A second officer arrived on the scene and, along with Woodyard, reportedly grabbed each of McClain's arms after reportedly suspecting that McClain was armed. No weapons were ever discovered.
Audio from bodycam footage includes McClain pleading to be released.
"An officer can be heard on a body-worn camera saying, 'Stop tensing up, dude, stop tensing up,'" the report added. "McClain then said, 'Let me go, no, let me go, I am an introvert, please respect my boundaries that I am speaking.'"
He was also heard pleading with officers, saying, "I was just going home. I'm just different, I'm just different, that's all, that's all I was doing. I'm so sorry."
The officers refused as a third entered the fray and moved McClain to a nearby patch of grass after the third officer says that McClain reportedly attempted to reach for one of the officers' weapons, prompting another of the officers to place McClain in a choke hold. Soon after, McClain lost consciousness. EMTs arrived to administer help and injected McClain with 500 milligrams of ketamine to sedate him. During the detainment, McClain vomited and fainted. At that point, medics placed the 23-year-old in soft restraints and placed him into a waiting ambulance. The medic who administered the injection reportedly said that McClain was no longer breathing and did not have a pulse.
McClain arrived at the hospital and remained unconscious for three days. After the third day, doctors declared him brain-dead.
At the time, authorities cleared involved officers of any wrongdoing.
What's happening now?
Vice reports that all officers and paramedics who stopped McClain and administered what it reported as the fatal dose of ketamine are being charged with homicide.
An Aurora, Colorado, grand jury on Wednesday indicted the three responding officers and two paramedics on a total of 32 counts.
Each defendant is facing one count of criminally negligent homicide and a count of manslaughter. Assault charges vary among those involved in the young man's death. The outlet notes that two of the police officers also face an additional charge of second-degree assault with intent to cause bodily injury and one count each of a crime of violence related to the assault charge. The two paramedics involved in McClain's death each face second-degree assault with intent to cause bodily injury, second-degree assault for recklessly causing bodily injury by means of a deadly weapon — in this case, ketamine — second-degree assault for a purpose other than lawful medical treatment, and one count of a crime of violence.
Attorney General Phil Weiser on Wednesday said, "Our goal is to seek justice for Elijah McClain, for his family and his friends, and for our state."
"We're here today because Elijah McClain is not here, and he should be," Weiser added. "He was a son, a nephew, a brother, a friend. When he died, he was only 23 years old. He had his whole life ahead of him. His family and his friends must now go on and live without him."