AURORA, Colo. (AP) — Monday marks one year since 23-year-old Elijah McClain was stopped by police in the Denver suburb of Aurora. He was arrested, put into a choke hold and given 500 milligrams of ketamine as a sedative. Less than a week later he was dead. Following nationwide protests for racial justice and police accountability in the wake of police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, McClain’s case has received renewed interest and several investigations are ongoing by federal, state and local authorities.
Here is a timeline from the past year:
Aug. 24: A 911 call reports a suspicious man wearing a ski mask and waving his arms. Police encounter McLain walking down the street and wrestle him to the ground, placing him in a carotid choke hold. EMS is summoned and an upset McClain is given 500 milligrams of ketamine.
Aug. 27: McClain is pronounced brain dead after several days in a hospital.
Aug. 30: McClain is taken off life support
Sept. 3: Dr. Stephen Cina performs a forensic autopsy. While he finds that a combination of a narrowed artery and physical exertion contributed to McClain’s death, he cannot determine a cause of death. Cina finds no evidence of a ketamine overdose and says there are several other possible reasons why McClain died.
Nov. 2: Aurora hosts a town hall on public safety and attendees question officials about the McClain case
Nov. 22: District Attorney Dave Young announces he will not file criminal charges against the officers who stopped McClain. Citing the autopsy, he says there is no proof they caused McClain’s death
May 25: George Floyd dies after Minneapolis police press their knee into his neck until he becomes unresponsive.
May 26: Floyd’s death sparks protests that grow into a nationwide conversation on racial injustice and police brutality. McClain’s case is one of many that gets renewed attention.
May 28: Denver protests shut down Interstate 25.
Early June: Photos, videos of McClain's arrest and a petition circulate on social media calling for reexamination of his death
June 10: Aurora City Council cancels plans to have a third-party consultant with a law enforcement background conduct an investigation.
June 19: Gov. Jared Polis signs Colorado’s police accountability law. It includes changes to police use of force rules, and requires law enforcement to report racial demographics when officers unholster their weapons. It also requires the use of body cameras for all interactions with the public; officer intervention if a colleague uses inappropriate use of force and bans the use of the carotid choke hold used on McClain
June 25: Polis appoints Attorney General, Phil Weiser to investigate the McClain case.
June 27: A violin vigil held for McClain, who played the instrument, is met with force by Aurora police.
June 30: The U.S. Justice Department and FBI announce they have been reviewing McClain’s case for a potential federal civil rights violations since 2019.
July 3: Interim police chief, Vanessa Wilson fires three Aurora police officers for reenacting the chokehold used on McClain. Demonstrations are held at the site where McClain was arrested. It is announced that Sheneen McClain will not speak to the media until charges are brought against officers involved in her son’s death.
July 20: The Aurora City Council approves Jonathan Smith, executive director of the Washington Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, to lead an independent investigation of McClain’s death and a review of the police department.
July 25: Car rams into protesters on Interstate 225 during a racial injustice demonstration. Two are shot by a fellow protester aiming the gun at the car.
Aug. 3: Wilson is chosen as Aurora’s new police chief.
Aug. 11: McClain’s parents file a federal civil rights lawsuit.
Aug. 11: Aurora officials announce a review of police department policies and procedures. State attorney general’s office announces it also is also conducting a civil rights investigation into the police department.