An amended autopsy report for Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died after a confrontation with police officers, was released on Friday, Sept. 23, more than three years after his death, per ABC News.
The updated report still lists the manner of death as “undetermined.”
“The investigation suggests that [McClain] received an intramuscular dose of ketamine that was higher than recommended for his weight,” Adams County Monica chief coroner Monica Broncucia-Jordan wrote in the report. “Further, my review of all the body camera footage shows that Mr. McClain was extremely sedated within minutes of receiving a shot of ketamine. When he was placed on a stretcher, I believe he was displaying agonal breathing and respiratory arrest was imminent.”
“Simply put, this dosage of ketamine was too much for this individual and it resulted in an overdose, even though his blood ketamine level was consistent with a ‘therapeutic’ blood concentration,” Broncucia-Jordan continued. “I believe that Mr. McClain would most likely be alive but for the administration of ketamine.”
The amended autopsy comes before the November arraignment of five former Aurora police officers and paramedics in McClain’s death.
In August 2019, a bystander claimed McClain was acting “sketchy” as he walked out of a store wearing a ski mask, which the 23-year-old usually wore due to his anemia, per the family’s attorney.
Aurora police officers responded to the call and approached McClain.
In body camera footage of the incident, one of the officers can be heard saying that they put McClain in a carotid chokehold, which restricts blood to the brain, per the Department of Justice.
McClain can also be heard saying, “I can’t breathe,” in the footage.
Paramedics arrived at the scene and gave McClain an “excessive” dose of ketamine, the family’s lawyer said.
He suffered a cardiac arrest in an ambulance and was pronounced dead three days after the incident, according to officials.
Earlier this month, CPR News sued the Adams County Coroner’s Office, arguing for his amended autopsy to be released. Several other local news organizations also had their open records requests denied and called for the autopsy’s release.
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