Among the victims of police brutality coming to light over the past month in the wake of the May 25 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis is the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old black man who died after being detained by police in Aurora, Colo., last year.
A petition has garnered more than 2 million signatures in just over three weeks, as reported by CBS News.
Along with demands for justice, people have been sharing stories of McClain's life, telling of his kindness and compassion. He was a violinist and would play music to cats at shelters so they wouldn't be lonely.
According to the petition at Change.org:
August 24th, 2019, 23-year-old Elijah McClain was walking home after buying some tea at a local convenience store. According to Elijah's family, Elijah, who was anemic, preferred to wear a ski mask to keep his face warm while he was walking. The Aurora Police Department received a call of a "suspicious man". This call resulted in Elijah's death. After the McClain family requested the bodycam footage from the officers on scene it was reported that in the footage,
"He is laying on the ground vomiting, he is begging, he is saying, 'I can't breathe.' One of the officers says, 'Don't move again. If you move again, I'm calling in a dog to bite you,'" -Mari Newman (the McClain's lawyer)
When the paramedics arrived they administered a dose of Ketamine to the already unconscious Elijah to "sedate" him. He was pronounced dead August 27th, 2019, at only 23 years old of a heart attack. Denver 7 News stated, "...they couldn't determine whether McClain's death was an accident, was due to natural causes, or is a homicide related to the police department's use of a carotid hold". The officers on the scene were placed on temporary leave, however, they are back in the field with no charges.
The CBS News report has more details about the case and the events of that night.
In response to the petition, on Thursday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis appointed a special prosecutor to "determine whether the facts justify criminal charges against members of law enforcement" involved in the arrest.