AURORA, Colo. (WSAV) — This week, Adams County District Court Judge Priscilla Loew said evidence against the five former Aurora police officers and paramedics in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain is strong enough to pursue criminal cases.
“There is sufficient evidence to establish probable cause for each of the counts listed in the grand jury indictment,” wrote Loew.
This decision came after the lawyers representing the three officers and two paramedics asked Loew to review the cases, arguing that there was not enough evidence to support the charges against their clients, according to court documents.
The five defendants were indicted in McClain’s death in August 2021 on several charges, including manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, according to officials.
Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old massage therapist and violist, died following an encounter with police in August 2019 while he was walking home from a convenience store.
A passerby had called 911 to report McClain as “sketchy,” as he was wearing a ski mask on a warm night. McClain’s lawyer later attributed this to the fact that McClain was anemic and often cold.
Aurora police officers responded to the scene, grabbing McClain and using a carotid control hold, which led to McClain saying, “I can’t breathe,” and struggling against the police, according to police body camera footage.
Paramedics arrived, giving McClain an “excessive” dose of ketamine, according to McCain’s lawyer, and McClain suffered from cardiac arrest shortly after in an ambulance. McClain was pronounced dead three days later.